OLYMPIA, Wash. - Gov. Chris Gregoire has signed into law a measure that legalizes same-sex marriage in Washington state, which now joins several other states that allow gay and lesbian couples to wed.
Gregoire and Secretary of State Sam Reed certified the election on Wednesday afternoon, joined by couples who plan to wed. The law doesn't take effect until Thursday, when gay and lesbian couples can start picking up their wedding certificates and licenses at county auditors' offices. King and Thurston Counties will open the earliest of any of the counties, at 12:01 a.m. Thursday.
Because the state has a three-day waiting period, the earliest that weddings can take place is Sunday.
Last month, 54 percent of voters approved Referendum 74, which had asked for people to approve or reject the state law legalizing same-sex marriage that legislators passed earlier this year. That law was signed by Gregoire in February but was put on hold pending the outcome of the election.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)