With same-sex marriage now legal in Washington, ceremonies began taking place today across the state, including in Walla Walla, where Kathleen Claymore and Shara Orcutt married this morning at a location that’s special to them both – the Pioneer Park aviary.
“Shara proposed to me the at the aviary,” said Claymore, a student in the Walla Walla Community College culinary program.
The women began dating four years ago and later registered as domestic partners, according to reporter Sheila Hagar of the Walla Walla Union Bulletin.
While that helped with some legal matters, it’s no substitute for marriage, Claymore said on Friday. “We have this little card you have to carry around. You don’t like to carry it, but you kind of need to.”
According to Hagar’s report, Claymore landed in the hospital last summer with health issues and knew that card would be the only way to prove to staff that Orcutt had a right to make decisions and be by her side. “I was worried they wouldn’t give my wife updates, so scared they wouldn’t believe it,” Claymore said.
That doesn’t happen when two people can say they are legally married, Claymore added, and Sunday’s short and chilly ceremony — the first in Walla Walla County under the new law — put the voter’s stamp of approval on paper.
“Everyone knows what a marriage is,” Claymore said. “Not everyone knows what a domestic partnership is. When I say I have a wife, I don’t feel anyone can deny me the status marriage affords me….I don’t have to carry that card with me.”