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Politics

Gay Weddings Make Up 17 Percent of Wash. State Marriages

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Elaine Thompson
/
Associated Press
Retired U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Nancy Monahan, right, wears her dress uniform as she leans to kiss her soon-to-be bride Deb Needham while they wait at Seattle City Hall to become among the first gay couples to legally wed in Washington.

It’s been a year since the first same-sex couples married in Washington State, and since then about one marriage in six has joined partners of the same sex.

New data from the Washington Department of Health begins to fill out what has changed since December 5, 2012. Some 7,071 same-sex couples have been married in Washington through September 30th, according to the most recent data available from the state Department of Health.

Department spokesman Tim Church says same-sex weddings spiked right after the law was enacted.

“It’s clear that there was a pent-up demand early on, because in December of 2012, the numbers were the largest we’ve seen,” said Church. “People wanted to take advantage of the law, so the minute that they could, they did.”

Most of those couples, 62 percent, were made up of two women. One-fourth of the married couples came from out of state—hundreds from neighboring Oregon, but also 170 from Texas.

Every county but one, Garfield County in central Washington, had same-sex marriages in that first 10 months. King, Clark and Pierce had the highest number.

Since Washington’s law took effect, five more states have legalized same-sex marriage. Illinois became the latest last month.