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December 9, 2012

Same-sex couples start taking vows in Washington

SEATTLE (AP) — Scores of same-sex couples crowded Seattle City Hall for a day of wedding ceremonies yesterday, the first day they could marry after the state’s voter-approved gay marriage law took effect.

While numerous weddings were taking place across the state, both private and public, the city hall weddings were the largest public event, with about 140 couples taking part. The city set up five separate chapels to accommodate the revelers. Starting at 10 a.m., cheers and applause regularly broke out as another couple’s marriage became official. Weddings at city hall were to continue through 5 p.m.

After couples married, they exited city hall, greeted by a steady rain and by dozens of supporters who cheered them with shouts of “congratulations” and flowers as they descended a large staircase down to the street.

“I don’t even have words for this,” said Caren Goldenberg of Seattle, who married her partner of seven years, Casey Evans. “It just makes me really proud of my city.”

Mayor Mike McGinn, who greeted couples at they arrived, called it a “great day, a joyous day.”

“It’s really wonderful,” he said. “A new civil right is going to be recognized in this great civil institution.”

Keith Bacon and Corianton Hale of Seattle, who celebrated their six-year anniversary the night before, hugged and kissed to loud cheers and camera flashes as they took their vows before one of the 16 local judges who volunteered to officiate the weddings on Sunday.

“We’re totally thrilled,” Bacon said. The couple had a commitment ceremony in August but said this day was particularly special.

“We had looked at this as maybe a day we would sign a piece of paper and seal the deal, and instead we’re having this huge party being thrown in our honor,” Bacon said. “It’s just mind blowing.”

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