KENNEWICK, Wash. -- Hundreds of King County residents made history early Thursday by getting some of the state's first-ever marriage licenses for same-sex couples. Jane Abbott Lighty and her partner of 35 years, Pete-e Petersen were the first in line.
"it is hard to explain the thrill and to know that we really are going to get married," Petersen said.
Things were much quieter in Eastern Washington. As of 4:00 PM, Benton county issued seven licenses to same sex couples, three in Prosser and four in Kennewick. Franklin County issued two, Walla Walla County had one and Yakima County seven. One couple who showed up to Kennewick came all the way from Oregon.
"The couples that have been in have shared some of their stories and how long they've been together and what an important day this was for them, and so it has been a little bit emotional for some of us," said Brenda Chilton, the Benton County Auditor working in the Kennewick office Thursday.
Sara Belchik and Annie Moser made history of their own, being the first same-sex couple to apply for a license in Benton County. The two went to the Prosser Court house where Annie grew up. "We wanted to avoid any long lines, thinking there were going to be long lines in Kennewick. So we went to the auditor's office in Prosser and they were very friendly, very helpful," said Moser.
The West Richland couple have known each other for six years and been dating for three. They got engaged in October of last year before any law changes. And they were married days after the historical vote.
"We got married November 10th. Three days before our wedding we found out that it was going to be legal, so that was a huge deal for us. We cried a lot," Belchik said.
And while the two did get their certificate Thursday, the right to marry is more than just a piece of paper to them. "The word wife got a whole new meaning and I knew that was the only word that could describe what she means to me," said Belchik of her new wife.
Moser felt the same. "It feels better for me to say this is my wife Sara, because that's what she is to me," Moser replied.
There is a three day waiting period, Sunday is the first day same sex couples can legally get married under the new law.