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First marriage licenses for same-sex couples issued as crowd cheers

Post by Steve Maynard / The News Tribune on Dec. 6, 2012 at 7:14 am with 38 Comments »
December 6, 2012 1:59 pm

John McCluskey and Rudy Henry signed their marriage license application this morning and made history.

They became the first same-sex couple to receive a marriage license in Pierce County. A crowd of about 50 people cheered and applauded as gay and lesbian couples left the Pierce County Auditor’s office with their marriage certificates in hand.

“It’s just exciting,” said McCluskey, 76. “We never even thought it would get to this day.”

Henry, 78, said he was excited as well. “I couldn’t sleep very well,” he said.

After being a couple for nearly 54 years, McCluskey and Henry will get married Dec. 15 at First United Methodist Church in Tacoma.

Marriage licenses became available today after state Referendum 74 was certified. The first weddings won’t occur until Sunday because of the state’s three-day waiting period.

The auditor’s office opened early at 6:30 a.m. for the first couples to get their licenses. By 7:10 a.m., 28 couples had received licenses. By then, no more couples were waiting for licenses.

A group of supporters cheered each couple as they left with their license in hand. One man handed out pink and yellow roses.

Couples lined up minutes before the Pierce County Auditor’s Office started issuing the licenses at the County Annex.

Heather Kawamoto and Kay Lancaster were second in line with their 9-year-old daughter, Kayleigh Kawamoto, who sipped from a carton of milk. The Tacoma couple will get married Sunday in Tacoma.

“It’s extremely exciting,” said Heather Kawamato, 38. “It’s the culmination of so many dreams and hopes.”

“It’s overwhelming, exciting and emotional,” said Lancaster, 51.

Auditor Julie Anderson guessed last week that 150 couples will apply for a marriage license on the first day. The Auditor’s Office is staying open for extended hours today and Friday and will be open for the weekend to accommodate an expected rush for licenses.

Anderson’s office handed out numbers Wednesday that determined the order of licenses doled out on today. She took that step so couples don’t have to camp overnight in their bid to become one of the first same-sex couples in Pierce County to receive a marriage license. Twenty couples reserved spots.

The first two couples were pre-selected. Nancy Mellor and Kariena Martonik, of University Place, were third.

Ann Dahl and Barbara Root were No. 4.

“It means that we’re finally starting to get equal rights with everyone else in the country,” said Dahl, 57, of Tacoma.

Her partner concurred.

“I think it’s finally a recognition of the civil rights we’ve essentially been denied for our lifetime,” said Root, 59.

Washington is the seventh state to legalize same-sex marriage.

Leave a comment Comments → 38
  1. TheCoze says:

    Rudy & John congratulations!!!!! You two are such beautiful sweet souls!!!

  2. TheCoze says:

    By the way, is that J&A that i see in the background of that picture!! Congrats you two if it’s you!

  3. mojjonation says:

    I’m amazed there are no doom and gloom protesters spewing their hate. Aparently the “country is now forever a cess pool” crowd keeps bankers hours.

  4. igotdabombfool says:

    I’m happy for those that are getting married, but part of me wonders why we are opening up public buildings early to accomodate this. Nobody opened up early for me to get married and aren’t we in the middle of a budget crunch? Wonder how much this cost in overtime and such?

  5. earnestman says:

    Because their gay, they get special treatment that hetero’s wont ever see. What a shame.

  6. LeePHilI says:

    Since this picture was run in the news, I’ll be leaving my wife and taking up with a gay man.

    I see no one is biting on earnest’s silliness….

  7. LeePHilI says:

    “Nobody opened up early for me to get married”

    No one excluded you from the right to marry. Seems fair to provide a little extra service for those who have been denied for so long.

  8. And this is front page news? No wonder the Trib is falling apart and losing subscribers!

  9. LeePHilI says:

    So unimportant that you took the time to comment about it….

  10. TheCoze says:

    I agree LeePHill!!! If you don’t like it… Don’t look!!!

  11. stradivari says:

    Th winners are the people. The losers are those who used their religions to oppress others.

  12. igotdabombfool says:

    “No one excluded you from the right to marry. Seems fair to provide a little extra service for those who have been denied for so long.”

    I’m not saying that I was excluded from the right to marry, but why is it fair to provide a little extra service for those denied for so long? Are they paying extra for that extra service? Since this has been about equality and to have the same rights as others, of which I agree you should have, then why can’t it be just as equal and you can get your certificate during normal business hours like everybody else?

    Were any male/female marriages allowed during these extended hours?

  13. igotdabombfool says:

    “The winners are the people. The losers are those who used their religions to oppress others.”

    More accurately, the winners are those getting married. You have gained a fundamental right to marry. There were plenty of people opposed to same sex marriages that did not use religion to oppress it. I would have to say that oppress is probably not the right word here either.

    op·press (-prs)
    tr.v. op·pressed, op·press·ing, op·press·es
    1. To keep down by severe and unjust use of force or authority: a people who were oppressed by tyranny.
    2. To weigh heavily on: Poverty oppresses the spirit.
    3. Obsolete To overwhelm or crush.

    The state has simply evolved to become more accepting of same sex marriages. Just as we have in the past for a variety of reasons. But to categorize somebody as an oppressor because they hold a different belief than you, would put you in the same boat as them. You hold a different view then them and that’s fine, but let’s not go religon bashing because of that view.

  14. So they legalized pot and gay marriage in Washington State. Yippie Skippie. It remains to be seen whether this is a smart move or not. We don’t want all potheads and perverts moving here. If they do they’ll hopefully live in Seattle where they’ll feel right at home. Lol.

  15. CrazyJim says:

    A great day to be living in Washington!

  16. mojjonation says:

    Kerwin…I will take pot heads and perverts over felons and parolees anyday. Maurice Clemmons anyone?

  17. What a great day for Washington state!

    In response to the comments above, The doors were opened early because it IS a historic day, and they are expecting hundreds and hundreds of more applicants to come through the doors than on any other day. Stay calm, I am sure that they will go back to regular hours soon, and don’t worry… these special hours on a special day wont be the standard. Its not like they will promote “Special early hours for gays only” in the future.

    Don’t get so bent out of shape just because someone is FINALLY able to have the same basic human rights as you have had all along. You didn’t have to wait for them to pass laws to enable you to marry the person you love. It was already there waiting for you. Quit acting like two people being married effects you in any way shape or form, and somehow infringes on your human rights!

    20 years from now, people will look back at your actions and think the same things we now think about how persons of color were treated when it came to civil rights movement.

    Really? DO you want to be THAT GUY?

  18. igotdabombfool says:

    Nobody got bent out of shape. This is not a fiscally responsible move to open the doors early for a marriage license, historic or not. Nobody asked or said anything about them having special early hours for gays only in the future. Nobody is infringing on my rights, unless taxes need to go up because of this specialty stuff going on.

    The only question asked is…who’s paying the overtime and other fees associated with opening early?

  19. “Were any male/female marriages allowed during these extended hours?”

    It would have been wrong to deny ANYONE access to a marriage license today. If they were willing to wait in line, they could get one.

    I just cant see a clerk saying… “What? You’re straight? Sorry we wont be issuing any of THOSE today!”

    As for the over time costs for workers, I am sure that the sudden boost in revenue accrued from the cost of the License covered any possible overtime costs.

    If I was a clerk, I would have been willing to volunteer my over time hours for the cause. Whats a few bucks to be a part of history?! Ya know?

  20. Oppress is absolutely the right word. Another definition; to burden with cruel or unjust impositions or restraints.

    Denying people the right to marry is unjust.

    “categorize somebody as an oppressor because they hold a different belief than you, would put you in the same boat as them.”

    No, absolutely not true. Nobody said the religious can’t continue to be religious, did they? I’m rubber, you’re glue isn’t a legitimate defense.

    You hold a different view then them and that’s fine, but let’s not go religon bashing because of that view.

    Saying that people imposed their religious beliefs isn’t “bashing.” The truth may hurt, but that doesn’t make it any less the truth.

  21. mojjonation says:

    Zeski…some people talk because they have something to say, others talk because they have to say something. One of those two applies to each and every person on here. You seem to have the mental capacity to figure out which is which. Hope you have a good day.

  22. SoCalPunk62 says:

    to igotdabombfool
    Your capacity for thought seems a bit shallow. Did you ever think that maybe they’re opeing the doors early to accomodate the large crowd expected. Not fiscally responsible? Really? You do know that marriage licenses cost money and that the government will be collecting money during that time, right? Your comments are just nay-saying silliness. Speed up or get out of the way, that’s progress flashing its lights in your rearview mirror.

  23. igotdabombfool says:

    There was no large crowd, especially not one to justify the cost of opening early. I do know that marriage licenses cost money, but it doesn’t come close to covering the cost of this exception to the hours.

    Speed up or get out of the way? Really…lets see, as stated in earlier posts, I supported the right. How much more do I need to speed up to accomodate the progress that I already accepted?

  24. igotdabombfool says:

    “Another definition; to burden with cruel or unjust impositions or restraints.”

    Actually depending on the website you look at, it’s not ANOTHER definition, it’s part of a definition which you left out.

    Most sites list this part of the definition as obsolete or archaic and is no longer accepted.

    “Saying that people imposed their religious beliefs isn’t “bashing.””

    It is bashing when you consider the context. There was absolutely no need for the commenter to bring up the opinion that the losers where religous oppressors.

  25. footballscaa says:

    Conservative Americans seem to believe that freedom, only applies to the beliefs THEY think are right. The political party THEY support and the bibles THEY read. They want their freedoms but refuse to allow those THEY fear to have theirs. This is America, it’s not us against them. True freedom lies in tolerance and understanding.

  26. goldengiven says:

    Folks, the Auditor’s Office has a policy of opening up for extended hours, when possible, when an unusual glut of demand is expected. This isn’t some specific special treatment for gays.

  27. earnestman says:

    How much glut do you forcast GaGiven. Here I go paying for someone elses lifestyle.

  28. normajean says:

    So what if there was special treatment. Long overdue. @ Earnestman, they (they gays) have also paid for services for you & other straight individuals for a very long time. So what’s the difference? From my calculations you & everyone like you including me owe them much more, so what’s a few extended hours.

  29. igotdabombfool says:

    “From my calculations you & everyone like you including me owe them much more, so what’s a few extended hours.”

    And what exactly do I owe them for and why?

    And explain what services they have paid for that directly benefits straight individuals, that they only received soley due to their sexual status?

  30. igotdabombfool says:

    “Folks, the Auditor’s Office has a policy of opening up for extended hours, when possible, when an unusual glut of demand is expected. This isn’t some specific special treatment for gays.”

    Really…I just did a quick search on the web and can’t find the last time the Auditor’s Office had extended hours at all. I’ve passed that building everyday for 5 years and have never seen extended hours. It would appear that these hours were in benefit of one group only.

  31. the3rdpigshouse says:

    Te continued deterioration of society in the “high” Socialist State of Washington!!

  32. Since a portion of each license fee is going to the county general fund, consider the couple of extra hours paid for. Per the Voter’s Guide revenue to each county is expected to increase by $28,000 per year.

    Congratulations to all the couples getting licenses!

  33. LeePHilI says:

    “Were any male/female marriages allowed during these extended hours?”

    I don’t know, since the story is about same sex marriages. My guess is that no one who has been able to marry for their entire adult life wants to celebrate the symbolism of being first or among the first who are no longer restricted from their rights.

    I do know that if a male/female couple WANTED to get married during this special time, no one could have said “NO”, as that would have been illegal.

    Finally same sex couples have the same right.

  34. LeePHilI says:

    “If I was a clerk, I would have been willing to volunteer my over time hours for the cause. Whats a few bucks to be a part of history?! Ya know?” – Zeski

    Zeski, don’t you know that acting like a rational adult is not allowed when considering the subject of same sex marriage?

  35. bluegirl39 says:

    I am a heterosexual and got my marriage license today. We were excited to part of an historic event where a large part of the population were given their civil right. And, there is a $64 charge per license, so the auditor’s office did well today. People should know facts before they make critical comments.

  36. igotdabombfool says:

    It’s not a couple of extra hours…it equates to 3 full days of work…except all overtime.

  37. Maybe the state could streamline the licensing like motor vehicles does with titles. With the marriage license there would be a bottom tear off part to report a change of partner and divorce to the state-lol.

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