Same-sex couples will be able to pick up marriage licenses in Washington State starting Thursday, December 6, which means that after the state's mandated three-day waiting period, the first gay and lesbian weddings will take place on Sunday, December 9.

For the occasion, WW suggested some possible Vancouver wedding spots in this week's print edition. In addition to those, however, Equality Southwest Washington, a gay-marriage rights advocacy group, will be helping organize free mass wedding ceremonies on December 9 and on the ever-so-popular wedding-date choice of December 12 (12/12/12).

But according to Equality Southwest Washington spokesman Drew Griffin, not enough ministers have yet volunteered to perform the historic wedding ceremonies, which will include some of the very first gay and lesbian weddings in the state.

"We're asking for at least 10 ministers per hour," says Griffin, who says Oregon clergy willing to volunteer would be very much appreciated. "We checked up on the law," he says. "As long as they're ordained with some sort of religious institution, it's absolutely not a problem to be from out of state."

As revised by Measure 74, the referendum that legalized same-sex marriage in Washington, a ceremony may be performed by "any regularly licensed or ordained minister or any priest, imam, rabbi, or similar official of any religious organization," irrespective of the state in which the official was ordained. Presumably, this also applies to those ordained on the Internet.

Griffin says that officiants interested in volunteering should either send a message to the Equality Southwest Washington Facebook page, or call at 206-535-9899.

Dates and times for the planned mass wedding spots:

  • Sunday, December 9, beginning at 12:01 am: ceremonies are being held at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, 1220 NE 68th St., Vancouver, 360-693-1476. 
  • Sunday, December 9, from 9 am - evening: ceremonies at the Red Cross Building at Fort Vancouver, (605 E Barnes St., Vancouver, 360-597-5337)  and at the pavilion at Esther Short Park (this last is courtesy of an anonymous donor.)
  • Wednesday, December 12: Time and location TBD. Contact Equality Southwest Washington for details.