Legalized Gay Marriage Is Complicated

When can you get married? What if you're already domestic-partnered? What if you got gay-married out of state?

Legalized Gay Marriage Is Complicated

Robert Ullman

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Almost as soon as Washington State voters approved our groundbreaking new marriage equality law, gay citizens started asking logistical questions. As a service to homos, we turn now to gay logistics whiz Jamie Pedersen, the state representative from Seattle's 43rd District who championed marriage equality for years, for some answers.

When's the earliest I can get married?

According to Pedersen, the gay marriage law will go into effect on December 5, after the 30-day waiting period for voter-approved measures like this one expires. Gays will be able to apply for marriage licenses the next day, December 6. But since there's a three-day waiting period for getting married in this state, the first day gay marriages could be performed is December 9.

What happens for gays who already got gay-married in another state?

"If you got married in another state before, then there is no need to get married again in Washington," Pedersen says. "Your marriage will be respected and given legal effect as a marriage by the State of Washington effective December 6. I think that the lawyers who work around the country on marriage equality generally discourage people from getting married in multiple jurisdictions (because our argument has always been that our legal relationship status should be portable, just like heterosexual marriages). That said, I think it is likely that many folks who got married elsewhere will want to do it legally here. Although it is unnecessary, I don't see any legal problems with doing so. (As long as you are marrying the same person!)"

What happens for people who are already domestic-partnered in Washington State?

"If you have a registered domestic partnership in Washington, then you have three choices," Pedersen says. "(A) Get married. You can do this anytime after December 6, just like any other couple. (B) Dissolve your domestic partnership, which requires going to court, just like dissolution of a marriage. (C) Do nothing, which would mean that on June 30, 2014, your domestic partnership will automatically convert into a marriage. The date of your marriage would be considered the date of your original domestic partnership registration.

"The only small footnote applies to couples where one partner will be 62 or older by June 30, 2014. If one partner will be 62 or older by June 30, 2014, then the 'do nothing' option would lead to their remaining domestic partners."

Do you have to be a Washington State resident to get gay-married here?

"There is no residency requirement to get married," Pedersen says. "However, there is a residency requirement to dissolve a marriage (with a few small exceptions, mostly related to military service). So folks who live in other states should give some thought to that before they come to Washington to marry."

Get Gay-Married in King County, Help At-Risk LGBT Youth!!

by Dominic Holden

Joe McDermott, chair of the King County Council's budget committee, was coming down to the wire last week to finish the county budget when voters approved gay marriage, a vote that prompted budget analysts to predict a spike in marriage license applications that will create about $50,000 in new revenue.

A conservative estimate, McDermott says, shows about 770 marriage license applications for same-sex couples in the next year. Each application costs $64.

So what was McDermott going to do with that money?

He drafted an eleventh-hour amendment that directs that $50,000 into programs that help at-risk queer youth. "I wanted there to be a nexus between that money and where it went," says McDermott, who is the county council's first openly gay member and who intends to gay-marry his partner. "We know that LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in at-risk, homeless, runaway, and sexually trafficked youth populations."

All nine members of the council's budget committee passed the amendment last week—that's all the Democrats and all the Republicans on the council—assuring its adoption into the full budget. It directs $35,000 to at-risk youth programs run by the nonprofit YouthCare and $15,000 to Lambert House.

And, yeah, Joe McDermott rocks. recommended


Comments (21) RSS

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Sue the states and the fed for violating your Constitutional right to certain types of privacy (which includes the privacy of your body relating to reproduction).Class-action or mass-action.
Posted by 5th Columnist on December 6, 2012 at 11:56 AM · Report this
Want to get married with others in December?

Join us for the Big Gay Wedding at Center for Spiritual Living on December 15, 2pm. Our ministers are performing the ceremony for free and you can invite up to 6 of your friends. We're hoping to marry 100 couples at the same time! Go to…
to register. Hooray for Marriage Equality!
Posted by SuzL on November 21, 2012 at 11:44 AM · Report this
John Horstman 19
What if I object to "marriage" being in the lawbooks at all and want to keep a domestic partnership a domestic partnership? Am I just SOL?
Posted by John Horstman on November 21, 2012 at 9:29 AM · Report this
jesgal 18
To all on December 6th that say "I Do"

Welcome to the happily ever after club!!
Posted by jesgal on November 20, 2012 at 9:52 PM · Report this
I'm curious about or WA state prisons. Will same sex inmates be allowed to marry?
Posted by libbysnax on November 20, 2012 at 4:41 PM · Report this
scary tyler moore 16
subletea: yes.
Posted by scary tyler moore on November 19, 2012 at 4:57 PM · Report this
What about officiants who got ordained online? Will marriages performed by them be legal and binding?
Posted by subtletea on November 19, 2012 at 3:56 PM · Report this
Texas10R 14
"Although it (New Washington marriage) is unnecessary, I don't see any legal problems with doing so."

Oops, forgot about living minor children.
Posted by Texas10R on November 19, 2012 at 11:42 AM · Report this
Could you just say marry rather than gay-marry? It creates a distinction between straight and lgbt marriage that isn't there.
Posted by AsAdtham on November 19, 2012 at 9:38 AM · Report this
Will we be able to apply online for a marriage license at 12:01 am on the 6th? Currently the online application is exclusively for male/female
Posted by islandjavaguy on November 16, 2012 at 8:57 PM · Report this
Will we be able to apply for a marriage license online at 12:01 am on the 6th? Currently the online app is only for male/female.
Posted by islandjavaguy on November 16, 2012 at 8:50 PM · Report this
sweet g: Domestic partnerships for people over 62 (including those of the opposite sex) were created for people who don't want to get married because of the property and estate planning implications (Washington is a community property state) but still want their relationship recognized by the State and still want to enjoy some legal protections for that relationship. Converting those domestic partnerships to marriages automatically would defeat the purpose for which they were created. But if an older same-sex couple WANTS to get married, there is nothing stopping them now.
Posted by lawdawg47 on November 16, 2012 at 1:25 PM · Report this
What on earth is up with upgrading partnerships to marriage unless on or both partners will be 62 or older???
Posted by sweet g on November 16, 2012 at 7:40 AM · Report this
Womyn2me 8
To apply for the license on the 6th, do both partners need to be there?
Posted by Womyn2me http://http:\\ on November 15, 2012 at 4:39 PM · Report this
SteSeattle: Judge William Downing of the King County Superior Court wrote the opinion striking down Washington's DOMA as unconstitutional. Unfortunately, the state supreme court disagreed with him and upheld DOMA, but give Judge Downing some props for reaching the right decision in the first place.
Posted by lawdawg47 on November 15, 2012 at 1:34 PM · Report this
We are planning to get married in December by one of the judges in Seattle. Does the Stranger have any recommendations on judges that have been LGBT supportive in the past?
Posted by SteSeattle on November 15, 2012 at 6:46 AM · Report this
We are planning on getting married in December by one of the many judges in Seattle. Does the Stranger have any recommendations for judges that have supported the LGBT community?
Posted by SteSeattle on November 15, 2012 at 6:39 AM · Report this
?? We're married on CA and Washington domestic partners. (Like Washington recognized the CA marriage before now ...).

What to do? I suspect I don't want WA converting the DP. Will they look at California marriages - or do I need to take action?
Posted by jamichl on November 14, 2012 at 8:32 PM · Report this
How do I keep Washington from "converting" my DP if I'm already married in CA? I only bothered to DP here because the marriage wasn't recognized then. Should I dissolve the Washington DP? Or?
Posted by jamichl on November 14, 2012 at 8:25 PM · Report this
To ANY two people getting married: Congratulations and a lifetime of undisrupted happiness!!!
Posted by auntie grizelda on November 14, 2012 at 7:23 PM · Report this
MacCrocodile 1
What if I want to gay-marry Jamie Pedersen? Do I have to file that paperwork before his Domestic Partnership to another man is automatically converted?
Posted by MacCrocodile on November 14, 2012 at 9:28 AM · Report this

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