Same-sex marriage is a go Dec. 6 in Pierce County

By Volcano Staff on December 4, 2012


Last week the Human Rights Campaign unveiled its Municipal Equality Index, which rates the public policies and legal rights of LGBT citizens in 137 U.S. cities. Seattle is rated one of the most progressive cities in the country. Seattle was one of only 11 cities to score a perfect 100. The Emerald City was right up there with St. Louis (who knew?), New York and - shocker - San Francisco. Olympia came in with an index of 60. Tacoma wasn't rated. Seattle serves as a shining example of LGBT inclusivity, with excellent policies ranging from non-discrimination laws, equal employee benefits and cutting-edge city services. 

Of course Seattle's gayness rubbed off on the rest of Washington state, at least in regards to its view on same-sex marriage. "Washingtonians overwhelmingly approved Referendum 74 on Election Day by a margin of 7.4 percent and voters in Maine, Minnesota and Maryland, states where marriage equality was also on the ballot, all voted in favor of marriage equality for same-sex couples," states statement released by Tacoma City Councilperson Ryan Mello this morning. Mello's press release to the Weekly Volcano World Headquarters - announcing marriage licenses issued for Washington state same-sex couples will be available beginning Thursday, Dec. 6 - felt like it was going to burst into confetti.

According to Mello, the Pierce County Auditor's Office has updated its marriage certificate and website.  The Pierce County Auditor's Office will open at 6:30 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 6 "for this historic moment."

Here's the rest of Mello's press release:

"We have been having a long conversation about our families and our lives with lawmakers and voters in Washington State," said State Representative Laurie Jinkins, one of the lead authors of the freedom to marry legislation in the state legislature.  "I'm thrilled that all committed and loving couples who choose to marry can now do that.   It's going to make thousands of families stronger and I'm overjoyed this day has come in Washington."

Tacomans John McCluskey and Rudy Henry have been together for 53 years. Due to Rudy's ill health, they will take a "cabulance" to make sure they are the first in line at the Pierce County Auditor's Office as soon as the doors open at 6:30 a.m. on December 6th

"Long ago I felt sad to think that, unlike my siblings, I would never experience marriage," said John McCluskey, long-time Tacoma civil rights advocate, age 76.  "Although we kind of felt married after half a century, it doesn't compare to the joy we feel at finally having our relationship acknowledged by our community. My parents must be looking down and high-fiving."

John and his soon to be husband, Rudy Henry will be wed at a ceremony produced by close friends and community members on Saturday, December 15th at First United Methodist Church in Tacoma (621 Tacoma Avenue South) from 3 - 5:30 p.m.  Everything from the invitations to the food and music have been organized by their friends so that John and Rudy can have the wedding they always dreamed about.  After Rudy suffered a stroke a couple of years ago and other health problems, it became even more important to John and Rudy that they publicly acknowledge their  lifelong commitment, sharing the joy that comes with making that commitment before friends and family. 

Another Tacoma couple, Heather Kawamoto and Kay Lancaster will be the second couple in line early Thursday morning to secure their marriage license.  Heather and Kay will marry after the mandatory 3-day waiting period on Sunday, December 9th at the Primo Grill reception space in central Tacoma. 

"My partner and I getting married is our 9 year old daughter's dream, to have her two moms marry, and I'm thrilled to not only make her dream come true, but mine as well!  Marriage is about love, commitment, and family, and it's my honor to legally commit to and marry the love of my life and continue to instill these core values in our family," said Heather Kawamoto who worked countless hours on the phone and knocking on doors to tell her story to voters in Tacoma during Referendum 74.