How to Get Married In Washington State

how-to-get-married-in-washington-state-gay-marriageWe waited anxiously into Wednesday to see if Washington was going to become the third state to approve marriage equality through a public vote. The vote-by-mail was finally counted and the result was a narrow victory for the LGBT community and our allies. As early as December 6, same-sex couples will begin having their I dos legally recognized by the state government, and we have all of the info you need to take that first step into marital bliss: obtaining the marriage license.

When does gay marriage go into effect in Washington?
Same-sex couples will be able to apply for marriage licenses in Washington beginning December 6, 2012, and marriages will begin on December 9.

Do I have to live in Washington to get married there?
No, anyone can apply for a marriage license in Washington. There is no residency requirement.

Where can I apply for a marriage license?
You can apply for a marriage license at any County Auditor’s office within Washington state.

Is a blood test required?

Is there a waiting period to get the marriage license?
There is three-day waiting period.

How soon after applying for a license can I get legally married?
Three days.  

Are there witnesses required in order to get legally married?
Two witnesses are required.

How much is the marriage license application fee?
The fee is $35 and up.   

How long is the marriage license valid for?
The license is valid for 60 days.

Can I apply online for a marriage license?
No, application must be done in person.

What paperwork is required when I apply for my marriage license?
Picture ID such as a driver’s license or passport. You should know your Social Security numbers and the state and county in which both of you were born.

Who can officiate the marriage ceremony?
Washington state judges or a regularly licensed or ordained minister from any state.

If I don’t live in Washington, will my marriage be recognized by my home state?
It depends on where you live, but in most cases, probably not. It will be recognized in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Iowa, New York, Maryland, Maine and Washington D.C.

Is my Washington gay marriage recognized by the U.S. federal government?
Unfortunately, no it is not.

If I get legally married in Washington, will I still need special legal paperwork to protect my family?
Yes, if you plan to travel with your partner beyond Washington state, it will be necessary for you to hire an attorney to draw up paperwork to protect your family in case something happens in a state where your marriage is not recognized. 

Is a divorce decree required?
A divorce decree is not required.

How do I change my name?
You’ll be asked your new last name on the marriage application. Once you receive your official copy of your marriage license, you can use that document to change your name on social security card, driver’s license etc., if you live in the state of Washington. If you live out of state, and in a state where your marriage is not legally recognized, it’s much harder and will, in most cases, require a judge’s order. 

Photo: Real Weddings Amy and Jeri, photography by Michele M. Waite Photography