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Seattle Ranks #1 for Same-Sex Households, Tops San Francisco

Elaine Thompson
Associated Press

Seattle is already known as the number one “chill city.” It also ranks first among best cities for college grads, new businesses, and tech jobs.

And now, we have overtaken San Francisco as the top big city in the nation for the percentage of same-sex couple households.

About one in 17 households in Seattle say they’re gay or lesbian, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau, which started counting same-sex couples in 2000.

“I’m not surprised,” said Craig Darling, a pastor at Seattle First Baptist Church.

On Dec. 9 last year, the day same-sex marriages became legal in Washington, Darling presided over a group wedding for 25 gay couples he had counseled in the weeks prior. He said the newylweds included every kind of couple.

“You know, younger, older. There was one male couple that had been together for 47 years. And they broke down and cried when they said to me, ‘You know, we have been waiting for 47 years for this kind of affirmation,”’ he said.

Michael Brown, professor of geography at the University of Washington, said Seattle can be proud of its new distinction, which is a sign of tolerance.

“The historic way that gays and lesbians have been oppressed and discriminated against has been to make them invisible. Being able to see yourself and your relationship in official government documents like the Census makes it harder for people to closet gays and lesbians,” he said.

The Census shows more than 7,500 gay couples—or about 2.6 percent of all households—are on the record in Seattle. It’s the first time since the statistic has been tracked that any place has topped San Francisco, which now ranks second with 2.5 percent.

The Seattle Times first reported on this story.

Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment for KNKX with an emphasis on climate justice, human health and food sovereignty. She enjoys reporting about how we will power our future while maintaining healthy cultures and livable cities. Story tips can be sent to