I don't often get misty eyed when looking at the morning news from our local paper but today was different. At 12:01 AM today, King County officials opened the doors to a line of over 200 same sex couples applying for their marriage licenses.
King County Executive Dow Constantine, a longtime gay-marriage supporter, signed the first license when the voter-approved Referendum 74 formally took effect around the state. Recorder's Office staffers stayed open throughout the night and until 6:30 p.m. Thursday to accommodate as many gay and lesbian couples as possible. It was estimated that the line at midnight consisted of over 200 couples.
What moved me was the story of the first couple in line. Seattle's Pete-e Petersen, 85, and Jane Abbott Lighty, 77, have been together for over 35 years and thought they would die without getting legally married.
When you see the joy and happiness on their faces when they realize that their dreams of marriage coming to fruition, well it doesn't get any better than that.
This Sunday they will legally marry before the Seattle Menâs Chorus and Seattle Womenâs Chorus onstage at Benaroya Hall, home to the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.
We have been fortunate to have numerous elected public officials take principled and courageous stand on marriage equality including outgoing Governor Chris Gregoire.
I found it very fitting that County Executive Constantine personally signed licenses for the first couples, using the same pen Governor Gregoire used to sign the Legislature's gay marriage bill in February - which was of course subsequently ratified by the passage of Referendum 74 last month.
I leave you today with a rousing quote from Dr. King:
Before we reach the majestic shores of the Promised Land, there is a frustrating and bewildering wilderness ahead. We must still face prodigious hilltops of opposition and gigantic mountains of resistance. But with patient and firm determination we will press on until every valley of despair is exalted to new peaks of hope, until every mountain of pride and irrationality is made low by the leveling process of humility and compassion; until the rough places of injustice are transformed into a smooth plane of equality of opportunity; and until the crooked places of prejudice are transformed by the straightening process of bright-eyed wisdom.