Washington residents Teresa Guajardo and Tina Roose are planning to get married in the Capitol Rotunda in Olympia on Dec. 15, and they don't want to be the only ones.
Guajardo, 67, and her 43-year-old partner Roose are inviting any and all same-sex couples in the area to join them on their big day, in order to create a mass wedding for gay couples in Washington.
Following the passage of Referendum 74, gay and lesbian couples will be allowed to legally marry in Washington state on Dec. 9 -- three days after local registries and bureaus begin granting wedding licenses to LGBT couples.
The couple reserved the Capitol Rotunda for their wedding day because "it's the people’s house," Roose told the News Tribune. "It’s where the Senate and House and the governor all supported marriage equality."
It's also "spectacularly beautiful," Guajardo added.
The engaged pair, who have been together for 13 years, made the reservation in February, anticipating that gay marriage would be legalized in Washington. Fortunately, it was, and Guajardo and Roose decided on election night to extend an open invitation to any gay couples who want to wed at the Capitol on Dec. 15 -- the first Saturday after the law takes effect.
They made a Facebook event to spread the news and create a wedding schedule. The Guajardo-Roose will take place first on the third floor North balcony at 12:30 p.m., and other couples will be wed simultaneously on the Capitol's four third-floor balconies from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m., with a mass reception to follow.
According to a recent report from the Williams Institute, a think tank at the UCLA School of Law, wedding-related expenses for in-state couples in Washington are projected to cost about $89 million, generating a significant amount of money for the state over the next three years. Nearly 18,000 LGBT couples are expected to wed in the first three years after gay marriage laws take effect in Maine, Maryland and Washington.
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