By Julie Bolcer
Originally published on Advocate.com December 09 2012 11:09 AM ET
After a successful fight for marriage equality in the legislature, and then a ballot campaign that upheld the law, same-sex couples in Washington began to marry Sunday.
The wedding day followed the usual, mandatory three-day waiting period after obtaining licenses. Then, Emily and Sarah Cofer were the first to wed, according to USA Today. Superior Court Judge Mary Yu married the couple, both third-grade teachers, in Seattle at 12:04 a.m. with their nine-month-old daughter Carter present. The judge and her staff members, who had volunteered to work overnight, had 12 weddings scheduled through 7:30 a.m. Sunday.
Hundreds of couples were expected to marry throughout the state on Sunday, some in private affairs and others in large public events. Around 140 couples were expected to marry at City Hall in Seattle. Then 25 same-sex partners at Seattle's First Baptist Church exchanged vows during a mass wedding.
Washington voters upheld the marriage equality law in a referendum last month. Voters in Maine and Maryland also passed laws, making all three among the first to uphold marriage equality in a popular vote. Couples in Maine will begin marrying on December 29 and weddings will start in Maryland on January 1.
On the following pages, see photos from the jubilant mass wedding in Seattle.
Diverse Harmony, a gay-straight alliance youth chorus, performs during the ceremony.
The 25 couples exchange vows.
The couples celebrate the completion of their wedding.