2012 Elections
1:17 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

Same-sex marriage foes concede; marriage industry gearing up

Foes of the same-sex marriage referendum in Washington have conceded the law will pass. The group that sponsored Referendum 74 declared victory yesterday.

Joseph Backholm, Chairman of Preserve Marriage Washington, stated on the opposition's website: "With added results showing that we have not closed the gap, it now appears clear that Referendum 74 will be narrowly approved. We are disappointed in losing a tough election battle on marriage by a narrow margin. But while we are disappointed, we are not defeated."

Washington United for Marriage’s campaign manager Zach Silk said in a press release yesterday: “This is a clear win."

“We have run the numbers every which way, and we can now confidently say that we have won. This is an historic day for Washington, an historic day for our country and, most of all, for families across the state who have dreamed of this day and the wedding celebrations to come.”

Wedding bells

Now the wedding industry is hoping for a spike in business, possibly taking some of the steam out the marriage industry in British Columbia .

Kristin Beman coordinates weddings for the Seattle company Tuxedos and Tennis Shoes Catering and Events. She says they got two emails and a phone call Wednesday from same-sex couples wanting to get married.

Beman says they didn’t specifically say it was because Referendum 74 had passed.

“I guess I just assumed because we don’t usually get three in one day,” she said. “So people are excited and kind of going for it.”

Beman says her company has long coordinated commitment ceremonies for same-sex couples. But she’s hopeful that the marriage equality law will open up a new market. Under the new law, gay and lesbian couples will be able to tie the knot as soon as Dec. 9.

Canada frets losing marriage business

The marriage industry in British Columbia received a significant boost in 2003 when B.C. legalized same-sex marriage. However, now that Washington is likely to approve R-74, businesses there expect a decline, The Vancouver Sun reported yesterday.

“I do think that it’s going to affect my market for destination weddings here in B.C. quite a bit,” said wedding planner Christine Rock, owner of Viva Las Weddings, told the Sun.

About 40 per cent of Rock’s clients consist of same-sex couples, almost all of whom are American, she said. A few have come from Washington state, but most hail from farther south.

“I have to wonder now if they’re only going to come as far north as Washington ... or not come (to Canada) at all now that they don’t have to,” she said.

The marriage industry in Washington won't have a lock on same-sex couples in the U.S., however. 

As Seattlepi.com points out in its story declaring victory for the movement, "same-sex marriage also was approved on Tuesday in Maine and Maryland. Minnesota voters rejected a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman; as recently as 2004, multiple states enacted such an amendment."

Video: This Seattle couple plans to get married:

This just in from King County:

The King County Recorder’s Office is making plans for the first day of marriage equality in Washington State. If Referendum 74 is certified as passed by the voters, the first day that marriage licenses can be issued to same-sex couples will be Thursday, Dec. 6. The first day that licenses could be used is three days later, Sunday, Dec. 9.

The Recorder’s Office will open for extended hours on Thursday, Dec. 6, as well as Friday, Dec. 7 and Saturday, Dec. 8. We are still firming up details of the plan for those first three days, including hours of operation. We will NOT be open on Sunday, Dec. 9, and we will NOT be able to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples until Dec. 6.