Thousands of same-sex marriage licenses issued in King County in 2013

Inside Harvard Ave’s Seattle First Baptist in December 2012 (Image: CHS)

Inside Harvard Ave’s Seattle First Baptist in December 2012 (Image: CHS)

One year ago, Seattle was celebrating its first same sex marriages.

3,452 marriage certificates were issued to same-sex couples in King County between December 2012 and September 2013, according to the Washington State Department of Health. Assuming a similar rate and possible holiday-inspired uptick, that number has likely climbed well above 4,000 as we ring in 2014.

All in all, King County reports a 33% increase in the number of marriage license applications of all types since it began processing same-sex applications last December.

More numbers from the county below:

One year after voters approved a law allowing same-sex marriages in Washington state, the King County Recorder’s Office has seen a 33% increase in the number of marriage license applications.

From Dec. 6, 2012, the first day that licenses could be issued to same-sex couples, through Nov. 30, 2013, 17,593 marriage licenses were issued by the Recorder’s Office. That compares to just 13,223 licenses handed out during the same period in 2011-2012.

King County does not track the number of marriage licenses handed out to same-sex couples. However, according to the Washington State Department of Health, 3,452 marriage certificates were issued to same-sex couples in King County between December 2012 and September 2013.

“The numbers tell the tale: until last year, thousands of couples were being denied the right to marry the person they love,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “We set the trend and now, just one year later, even the federal government recognizes legally-married same-sex couples. We are making great strides in the right direction.”

To celebrate the law’s first anniversary, the LGBT Pride Flag flew on the plaza of the King County Administration Building on Friday. One year ago, hundreds of same-sex couples lined up on the same plaza to be among the first to receive a marriage license. During a three-day marriage licensing event that ran from Dec. 6-8, 2012, 623 couples received licenses. On the first day of the “marathon,” King County smashed the one-day record for issuing marriage licenses, with 489 handed out in a little over 18 hours.

“Last year’s marriage licensing event was one of the highlights of my career in public service, and our staff enthusiastically responded to the unprecedented demand in those first three days,” said Norm Alberg, director of the King County Records and Licensing Services Division. “Since then, issuing a marriage license to a same-sex couple has become ‘business as usual’ for us, even though we have experienced a substantial increase in the number of marriage license customers.”

Now that California and Hawaii have joined Washington and 12 other states in allowing same-sex couples to marry, Alberg expects the marriage licensing business at the Recorder’s Office to decline somewhat.

“Although the initial rush is over, we believe there is still some pent-up demand for marriage licenses among same-sex couples that will subside over the next year or so,” Alberg added. “That said, King County’s population is increasing every year, so natural growth is also adding to our licensing numbers.”

For more information on marriage licensing in King County, visit www.kingcounty.gov/marriage.

3 thoughts on “Thousands of same-sex marriage licenses issued in King County in 2013

  1. Pictures and video of the first day of weddings at City Hall are still available at:
    http://married.seattle.gov

    I am particularly enamored of this picture of a long-time neighbor of mine marrying her beloved. The love and joy shared between the couple, and between couple and judge, is quite wonderful. I keep a copy on my fridge, and look at it whenever I feel depressed:
    http://marriage.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/flowers.jpg

  2. I’d love to see a 1 year later follow-up interview with all those who vociferously fought SSM, and predicted it would lead to death, doom and destruction, and the downfall of “traditional marriage”. Just to get their take on how the sky has fallen since.

    • We need to find out if the divorce rates increased in states that have marriage equality. I never understood the argument that marriage equality would threaten a traditional marriage. How many closet cases are there?

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