December 10th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

There was a spot on lower Fourth Avenue downtown on Sunday afternoon where the cheers from the gay marriage celebrants at City Hall and the cheers from the Seahawks fans in CenturyLink field were equally loud. And, with the Seahawks game a total rout, the cheers from both sources were about as frequent.

The City Hall scene was a big, one-time-only, spectacle of civic self-congratulation (the sort of thing Seattle does as often and as chest-thumpingly as possible).

But at the heart of this circus were the 137 couples who were legally wed, at five different chapels set up in the building, by a corps of judges working off the clock for free (including the aptly named Judge Mary Yu). Only the couples and their immediate guests were let inside the building.

Then the couples all got to descend the big exterior stairs and be congratulated with cheers, signs, and music.

Where there are mass weddings, there will be mass receptions. One was held at the Q bar on Broadway. Another was at the Paramount. The latter had its main floor all in flat seatless mode, with tables and tablecloths, and complimentary cupcakes and candies and wine and cider, all donated by local merchants.

Then the celebrity well wishers came on stage. Singer Mary Lambert, then Mayor McGinn, then State Sen. Ed Murray and fiancee (left).

A singer named Chocolate came on to sing a dutifully soulful rendition of “At Last,” leading the ceremonial “first dance” for all the couples.

At this time of year, when superficial wishes of love and joy are repeated to the point of meaninglessness, let us all heed the example of these couples, all all their gay and straight supporters who worked to make this happen, and to all before them who strove to have their love officially recognized in this way, and all who will marry (or simply know they can) in the days and years to come.

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