After a public vote in November, Referendum 74 passed and legalized gay marriage in Washington State. As of December 6, 2012, marriage license applications for all couples were available. The first gay marriages in the state could take place on or after December 9, due to the state's three-day wait period. Previous to this, domestic partnerships were available in the state.
In February 2012, bills passed through the Senate and House of Representatives to legalize gay marriage; Governor Christine Gregoire signed Referendum 74 into law on February 13, 2012, and made gay marriage legal in Washington. Just as the law was about to go into effect in June, opponents gathered enough signatures—more than 200,000—to bring the issue to a public vote in November.
How do my partner and I apply for a marriage license?
The process for gay couples is the same as straight couples. There is a $64 fee, which must be paid to your county's auditor or reporter's office. Each county has different rules about how this fee must be paid, so make sure you bring the appropriate form of payment. Most counties allow you to fill out the application online or a printed copy, so that you don't have to fill one out at the counter. No matter which county you apply in, both parties must be present and both must have photo ID and be over the age of 18.
To find the rules for your county, either go directly to your county auditor's webpage, or use this list from Access Washington.
What happens to existing domestic partnerships in Washington State?
On June 30, 2014, existing domestic partnerships in Washington State that are not in the process of dissolution will be automatically converted to marriages. Washington State has had domestic partnerships for same-sex couples since 2007. Domestic partners were required to share a residence, both be 18 or older, not be related to each other any closer than second cousins, not be married or registered as a domestic partner with anyone else, and able to give consent. Additionally, domestic partners must either both be the same sex or one partner must be older than 62.
What other states allow gay marriage?
Washington is one of several states where gay marriage is legal. As of August 2012, gay marriage is legal in Vermont (since 2009), New Hampshire (since 2010), Massachusetts (since 2004), Connecticut (since 2008), New York (since 2011), Washington D.C. (since 2009), and Iowa (since 2009). Like Washington State, Maryland also legalized gay marriage in 2012.