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?
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."
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.