Same Gender Marriage
With the passage of Referendum 74, same gender couples will be able to apply for marriage licenses beginning on Thursday, December 6, 2012. The Auditor’s Office staff can only answer questions related to the marriage application process. We cannot answer questions related to the effects of marriage, such as legal name change, impact on benefits or recognition in other states. Legal Voice, a nonprofit entity, has developed a series of questions and answers (PDF) that may be useful to same gender couples.
Please arrive in our office no later than 30 minutes prior to closing to allow sufficient time to process your application.
The application fee is $57. A certified copy fee is $3. The total is $60, cash, check or credit/debit card. There is a processing fee for debit/credit cards.
The parties must complete an application and both parties must sign the application before a notary public or deputy Auditor. Applications can be requested in person or by mail.
The application requires the following personal information:
- Applicant's name - please be prepared to provide a current picture ID such as a Driver's License, State issued ID card, Military ID, or a Passport.
- Applicant's social security number, current and past residence, birth place and birth name.
- Parental information: Name of mother and father; state or country of birth (if born outside the United States); the maiden name of each party's mother. Special care should be made to provide the correct spelling of names.
Waiting Period & Ceremony
The marriage license will be given to the parties upon application. The ceremony must occur in the State of Washington and be performed between 3 and 63 days of application. The 3 day waiting period cannot be waived. The person performing the ceremony must be a judge, a retired judge, or an ordained minister or similar official of any religious organization. You may contact a judge from the following list:
- Superior Court Judge
- District Court Judge
- Court of Appeals Judge
- Municipal Court Judge
- Age: The legal age for both parties is 18 years old. If the applicant(s) are 17 years old they must each be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian to sign the marriage application granting consent. The parent must have the authority to consent to marriage. Legal guardians must provide an original or a certified copy of the legal guardianship documents.
- Spouse/Partner: Applicants cannot have a current living spouse or registered domestic partner, unless the partner is the other party to this marriage.
- Miscellaneous: Witnesses or blood tests are not required to obtain a marriage license in the State of Washington.
To obtain a certified copy of a marriage certificate by mail, you will need to send a check payable to the Spokane County Auditor along with the names of each party at the time of application and the date of the marriage. A certified copy of the marriage certificate is $3. Our marriage records can also be accessed at the Washington State Digital Archives or in our office.
Performing Marriage Ceremony
Who can Perform the Marriage Ceremony: Washington State Law (RCW 26.04.050) specifies who can solemnize or officiate marriages, primarily justices, justices and commissioners of the courts and officials of religious organizations. A ship captain, unless meeting the qualifications above, is not authorized to perform marriages. Further, neither the couple nor the two witnesses may officiate the wedding ceremony.
An official of a religious organization is broadly defined in the law. The individual can be a regularly licensed or ordained minister or any priest, imam, rabbi or similar official of any religious organization of any state. Beyond providing this definition, Washington State does not issue or verify the license or qualifications of clergy to perform marriages.
Officiant Responsibilities: In performing the marriage ceremony, the officiant accepts numerous responsibilities laid out in Washington State statute. The officiant is responsible to:
- Complete their information on the marriage certificate
- Ensure that the couple and two witnesses sign and date the marriage certificate
- Return the marriage certificate to the appropriate county office within 30 days of the ceremony, or face a possible misdemeanor and fine up to $300