UPDATED 2:15 a.m. 12/9:
Five same-sex couples married at the Thurston County courthouse at the first possible chance for their vows to be recognized under voter-approved Referendum 74.
“It’s not about being first,” Carolyn Roos told the audience of about 35 friends who watched Roos and Jude Fritts seal their relationship of nearly five years by trading their domestic partnership for a marriage. “It’s about the moment.”
“We’re here at this moment to celebrate the people of Washington state, who voted to support our civil rights,” Roos said.
Roos, a mechanical engineer with the Washington State University extension energy program, and Fritts, a woodcarving artist who builds parts of pipe organs, both wore pants and suit jackets and Roos added a veil. Both clutched red roses as Superior Court Judge James Dixon performed the ceremony, telling them while they are signing a legally binding contract, “Neither the law nor the ceremony can truly create a marriage. The real marriage occurs in your hearts.”
Next to them, their wedding cake was topped with a pair of unidentified cartoon characters — stand-ins for bridal figurines. “All we could find were a bride and groom attached. We couldn’t find individual brides,” Roos said by phone earlier in the day as the couple walked the aisles of Toys’R'Us looking for action figures.
In other courtrooms at the same time, Judge Chris Wickham was marrying Tamra and Kami Rock, while Judge Anne Hirsch was marrying Quinn Sommerfeld and Casey Dunivan. Next up were grooms Matthew Wiltse and Jonathon Bashford, as well as brides Kathy Bostwick and Nola Leyde.
The three judges and administrative assistant Amy Hunter had volunteered to work on the weekend to help make history.
Dunivan, 23, and Sommerfeld, 21, made the decision on election night to get married. Both had worked for the campaign to re-elect President Barack Obama and elect other Democrats, and they had also volunteered on the campaign for R-74.
“We feel like the people in our state had our backs,” Sommerfeld said. “The next step is federal, and it’s only a matter of time.”