Same-sex couples line up in Vancouver for marriage licenses

Same-sex couples line up in Vancouver for marriage licenses
Jessica Lee, 19, and Ashley Cavner, 21, embrace in the Clark County Auditor's office on Thursday morning. They were applying to get a marriage license. (Photo by Kai Hayashi/KATU News)

VANCOUVER, Wash. - Same-sex couples stayed in line outdoors overnight in Vancouver at the Clark County Auditor's Office, waiting for the doors to open on a new era in Washington as marriage became legal on Thursday.

The first couple to get their license could have been accused of cutting in line, but no one was going to hold it against them, since one half of the couple was marriage license manager Paul Harris, who works at the office.

About a dozen people braved the cool night air to be at the front of the line, but by 8 a.m. when the doors opened, about 50 people in total had arrived.

"It feels wonderful," Harris said after completing the paperwork with his partner of 39 years, James Griener. "There is a sense of validation and acceptance by society, I feel."

Also in line was Roxanne WhiteLight and her partner Ruth Langstraat. WhiteLight said Langstraat has been undergoing treatment for cancer. "Today is our 19th anniversary, so for sure we have been waiting that long and it’s such a sweet feeling," Whitelight said.

"Yesterday I was in chemotherapy. Today I have a marriage license," Langstraat said. "It’s been a special week."

"I’m so grateful to the state of Washington, especially our governor," WhiteLight said.  "She had to do some real moral soul searching."

Griener said he had only one regret.

"Both of our families have been accepting of us," he said. "I only regret that my mother can’t be here today to see us married."