The Clark County Auditor's Office stayed open for extended hours Thursday with Washington's gay marriage law going into effect.
County workers expected as many as 500 same-sex couples to apply for marriage licenses on the first day of the new law, according to Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey, but the numbers fell well short of that.
By 5 p.m., only around 50 licenses had been issued to same-sex couples.
Kimsey said it was a similar story in King County, where the overall turnout appeared to be a fraction of what was expected on the first day.
Still, many couples were lined up outside county offices around the state at sunrise to be among the first to take advantage of the law passed by Washington voters.
The first license given to a gay couple in Clark County went to Paul Harris and James Griener.
"I'm feeling overjoyed," said Harris.
They have been together for 40 years, but until now, the state has not recognized them as a married couple.
"No one is going to take it away," Harris said. "It's permanent. It just, it felt good."
Under the new law, there is a three-day waiting period after getting a license before couples can get married.
So, Sunday is looking like a big day in Clark County. The group "Equality Southwest Washington" has organized free community weddings that day at Esther Short Park.
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