History in the making; same-sex marriage licenses available, beginning Thursday

Same-sex couples can apply for a marriage license anywhere in Washington state beginning, Thursday, Dec. 6., the date that the provisions of voter-approved Referendum 74 take effect.

All couples are required to have a valid marriage license to get married in Washington state. In San Juan County, couples may apply online at, in person at the county auditor’s officem in Friday Harbor, or through the mail. The license fee is $60.

Before a license can be issued, both parties must have their signatures notarized, a service also available at the auditor’s office. Marriage licenses become valid three days after the date issued and remain valid for 60 days, so a couple must have its vows solemnized by a licensed officiant within that 60-day window.

Once a wedding ceremony takes place, the officiant is responsible for returning a signed and properly witnessed marriage document to the auditor’s office. The couple will then receive a certified copy of the marriage license, which will be necessary for the process of changing either party’s name.

Applications will be taken from same-sex couples beginning on Dec. 6, the day the election results will be certified at the state level. Licenses issued that day will be valid for ceremonies beginning Dec. 9.

Contact the auditor’s office, 360-378-2161 with questions about the marriage licensing process. Online applications and all forms are being updated so that they will be available Dec. 6.



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