Happy Valley couple win drawing for one of state's first same-sex marriage licenses
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Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
J.P. Persall, left, and Diana Wickman, right, both of Sequim, look at a set of wedding rings Tuesday that they will exchange in a ceremony officiated by Clare Manis Hatyler, chaplain of Olympic Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM — A same-sex couple won a drawing to be among the first 10 same-sex couples to receive a marriage license in Washington state and will travel to Olympia tonight for the special event at 12:01 a.m. Thursday.

Diana Wickman and Judy Persall of Happy Valley south of Sequim are preparing to be among the state's first same-sex couples to wed Sunday — the first day same-sex marriages can legally be performed after the three-day waiting period after licenses are issued.

The two retired Coast Guard officers have been together for 10 years.

“I entered a contest posted by friends on Facebook. We didn't expect to win,” Wickman said.

Voters statewide approved Referendum 74, which affirmed the Legislature's same-sex marriage law, by 53.7 percent to 46.3 percent in the Nov. 6 general election.

Law begins Thursday

Election results are certified today, and the law will take effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday.

Thursday also is the first day same-sex couples can obtain marriage licenses at county auditor's offices.

Persall and Wickman are planning a simple ceremony Sunday before a small group of friends and family at their Happy Valley home.

The vows will be short and sweet, Wickman said.

It will be officiated by Chaplain Claire Hatler of Olympic Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

The church is a “welcoming congregation,” meaning the congregation is committed to supporting people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

First gay wedding

It will be Hatler's first same-sex wedding, she said.

Hatler and the couple met Tuesday to plan the ceremony, and the couple planned to drive to Olympia early today, Wickman said.

“We're going to check into someplace nice in Olympia and go to a restaurant,” she said.

Wickman noted that the 12:01 a.m. event is a bit past their normal bedtime but is worth it.

The courthouse belongs to Thurston County, and the license will be issued by that county, not the state — but getting one of the first licenses issued in the state's capital city is symbolic, she said.

A couple can marry anywhere in the state regardless of the county from which the license is issued.

Clallam County rejected R-74 by 52.49 percent to 47.51 percent, while Jefferson County approved it by 63.74 percent to 36.26 percent.

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Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: December 04. 2012 5:51PM
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