Today marks the first day that the state of Washington will permit same-sex couples to marry legally. Starting at midnight, wedding bells began ringing in ceremonies across the state. More nuptials--including some mass ceremonies held to formalize relationships that have been long established--are planned for later today.
Last Thursday, Dec. 6, was the first day that same-sex couples could apply for marriage licenses in Washington after the state's voters passed a referendum in November. The state has a three-day waiting period between applying for a license and following through with a wedding ceremony conducted by a licensed officer.
Washington was one of four states--the others being Minnesota, Maine, and Maryland--in which gay marriage advocates won victories at the ballot box in November. Earlier this year, the state of North Carolina approved a constitutional amendment restricting the definition of marriage to a union between one man and one woman.
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