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Gay weddings start in Washington state

SEATTLE – Gay and lesbian couples flocked to city halls and courthouses on Sunday to get married, as Washington state celebrated its first day of marriage equality.

In Seattle, Mayor Mike McGinn was all smiles, welcoming couples to City Hall and congratulating newlyweds. “It’s a great day, a joyous day,” he said.

Strangers who wanted to be part of the historical moment handed out flowers to the newlyweds and shouted out their congratulations.

People showered the steep steps of City Hall with rose petals and rice in celebration.

Voters in Washington state approved marriage equality at the ballot box on Nov. 6, joining Maine and Maryland on that historic night as the first states to do so via referendum. In Washington state, more than 54% of voters were in support of marriage equality.

One of the state’s more famous gay couples – Dan Savage and Terry Miller – got married on Sunday [lower left photo] and held their “Big Gay Wedding Reception” at Q Nightclub and collected “suggested donations” to support Freedom to Marry organization.

"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."

Nancy Monahan, 57, a retired petty officer with the Coast Guard, married her partner of 14 years, Deb Needham, 48.

Monahan wore her uniform and Needham was dressed in an ivory dress and jacket and matching hat. They told the Associated Press that they wanted to join the large wedding event at city hall because of the significance of the day.

"It's not very private, but very historic," Needham said, to which Monahan added, "And very awesome."

The photo of Monahan and Needham is taken and copyrighted by Victoria Shaffer and published by SDGLN media partner LGBTQ Nation. Additional photos by Shaffer can be found HERE.

Frequent SDGLN Contributor Melanie Nathan and "Gay U.S.A. The Movie" filmed the wedding of Needham and Monahan. Click HERE to read the blog.