Kirkland’s Northlake Unitarian Universalist Church is planning to roll out the carpet--replete with champagne, cake and music--and marry same-sex couples on the first day they can legally wed in Washington.
“This is part of history. It’s a big step for the gay community. We didn’t even dream about this a few years ago,” said the Rev. Marian Stewart, who will officiate. “It’s hard to believe it is here. So it’s just a huge day of celebration.”
Washington voters on Nov. 6 approved Resolution 74 upholding the state Legislature’s approval of same-sex marriage by a vote of about 52 percent to 48 percent. King County plans to begin issuing marriage certificates to such couples at 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 6, the day same-sex marriage becomes legal. However, because of the required three-day waiting period, Dec. 9 will be the actual first day gay couples can marry.
The Kirkland congregation is known for its proactive approach and progressive beliefs--such as hosting an interfaith service on the 10th anniversary of 9/11--and wants to support same-gender couples on the very first day they have the legal right to marry.
So it is offering ceremonies on the hour at 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., in a package that includes a champagne toast, cake, a reception with a DJ and up to 20 guests per couple. The church is asking only for a registration fee of $25. Wedding photos will be available for an additional charge.
“It’s not a money-maker by any stretch of the imagination,” Stewart said. “It’s just such a happy time, and we want to share it with the community. We also want people to know that not all churches were against (R-74). There are a lot of congregations like us, who worked so hard for this and put so much energy into it. This is a way to celebrate. It’s like, pinch me, this is real!”
The church has made arrangements with downtown Kirkland’s nearby boutique hotel, The Heathman, which is offering a special for participating couples.
The church had set a deadline of noon Friday, Nov. 30, to make reservations for the wedding ceremonies, but has extended it. Several couples have expressed interest, but as of Thursday, none had signed up.
Stewart thinks that’s because the approval of R-74 might have come as a surprise to gay couples; previous efforts had been defeated. “This is a major life decision, too,” she added.
Those interested may RSVP by calling the church office at 425-822-0171 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.