Peninsula sees first same-sex pairs wed [Corrected]
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Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News
Dana Fickeisen, left, and Karen Frank get married Sunday at Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Port Townsend with the Rev. Bruce Bode officiating, helped by minestrial intern Carol Thomas Cissel, right.

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Contains the corrected spelling of Harry Vossenas' surname.
Same-sex couples in Washington state recited wedding vows Sunday at events across the state, on the first day they could marry after the state's gay marriage law took effect.

On the North Olympic Peninsula, three happy couples took their vows.

The first ceremony in Clallam County took place Sunday, as Diana Wickman, 47, and JP Persall, 59, of Happy Valley, east of Sequim, made their decadelong relationship official.

Wickman said the couple didn't think they would ever see the day that they could legally marry.

“We can't believe it's here. It's real — it's really real,” Wickman said prior to the ceremony.

The couple chose to keep the wedding small, with 26 guests and a brief, five-minute ceremony at their home, during which the brides wore jeans and dressy blouses.

“We had a big commitment ceremony three years ago,” Wickman said.

hocolate cupcakes and wine were served for their chocolate and wine-themed reception

“It's astoundingly casual. We want to be comfortable,” Wickman said.

Wickman and Persall plan to honeymoon in Cabo San Lucas.

“Right now, it's like, 'Wow,'” Wickman said.

In Jefferson County, several pairs wed at the Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Port Townsend.

About 50 people attended the early-afternoon wedding of Dana Fickeisen and Karen Frank, both from Port Townsend.

The couple have been together for more than 25 years, they said.

Port Townsend residents Sharon Chirichillo and Mary Langley also were scheduled to be married at the church later Sunday.

Carlyle Bishop and Harry Vossenas of Port Townsend were the first same-sex couple to apply for licenses in Jefferson County on Thursday.

But the two men were not planning a Sunday ceremony.

In Seattle, things were hectic.

About 140 couples had registered to marry at Seattle City Hall, which had set up five separate chapels to accommodate the revelers.

Starting at 10 a.m., cheers and applause regularly broke out as another couple's marriage became official, and the weddings continued through 5 p.m.

Mayor Mike McGinn, who greeted couples at they arrived, called it a “great day, a joyous day.”

“It's really wonderful,” he said. “A new civil right is going to be recognized in this great civil institution.”

Keith Bacon and Corianton Hale of Seattle, who celebrated their six-year anniversary the night before, hugged and kissed to loud cheers and camera flashes as they took their vows before one of the 16 local judges who volunteered to officiate the weddings on Sunday.

“We're totally thrilled,” Bacon said. The couple had done a commitment ceremony in August but said this day was particularly special.

“We had looked at this as maybe a day we would sign a piece of paper and seal the deal, and instead we're having this huge party being thrown in our honor,” Bacon said. “It's just mind blowing.”

Nancy Monahan, 57, a retired petty office with the Coast Guard, waited outside before the weddings began with her partner of 14 years, Deb Needham, 48.

Monahan was wearing her uniform, and Needham was wearing an ivory dress and jacket and matching hat. They said they wanted to join the large wedding event at city hall because of the significance of the day.

“It's not very private, but very historic,” Needham said, to which Monahan added, “And very awesome.”

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday said it will take up gay marriage sometime during the current term. Several pending cases challenge the federal benefit provision of DOMA, and a separate appeal asks the justices to decide whether federal courts were correct in striking down California's Proposition 8, the amendment that outlawed gay marriage after it had been approved by courts in the nation's largest state.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Last modified: December 11. 2012 11:17AM
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