12/07/2012 01:42 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Washington's First Same-Sex Couples Apply for Marriage Licenses (PHOTOS)

At 12:01 a.m. PST gay and lesbian couples in Washington began to receive marriage licenses. I was at King County's administration building, but couples in every county throughout the state are preparing to marry on Dec. 9, after the mandatory three-day waiting period is over.

The first couple in King County was Pete-e Petersen, who is 85, and Jane Abbott Lighty, who is 77. They have been together for 35 years.


They were joined by more than 200 couples who were ready to wait in line all night long if they had to.


John Breitweiser and Stuart Wilber were celebrating their 35th anniversary together this weekend by getting married.


Meanwhile, the mood outside the administration building was festive. People sang gospel music, and Charles Drabkin and his husband Michael Herzfeld handed out flowers to the couples as they waited.


As couples left the building they were greeted with cheers from a growing crowd, despite the late hour. John and Stuart were greeted by friends who said they were looking forward to attending their wedding on Sunday.


It was incredible to see so many couples, each with their own history of waiting for this moment to come. Some, like Jane and Pete-e, and John and Stuart, have been waiting a life time. This moment could not come soon enough.

All photos by Joe Mirabella