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Same Love: Two Local Gay Couples Prepare to Walk Down the Aisle

Ben (left) & Jeff are planning a March wedding.

I met Seattle’s Ben Smith and Jeff DiFranco at Greenlake’s Cake Envy where they were tasting wedding cakes. The Seattle couple met five years ago.

“We went on our first date to teriyaki,” Jeff starts.

“Actually, we didn’t realize it was a date at first,” Ben continues. “I just remember saying, ‘Whoever gets this guy is the luckiest guy in Seattle’ and it ended up being me.”

They were already planning on getting married at the end of March.

“I keep thinking it’s a very traditional wedding except for the fact that it’s two dudes getting married,” Ben said.

But now it will be more than just a ceremony, they will be legally married.

“It means a lot to our families,” Jeff said. “My parents live in New York and they were like, ‘Why don’t you come get married here because it’s legal here?’ But we really wanted to do it in Washington and we’re really excited that all of them are going to come out here and be part of it.”

Tiffany and Lorey Neaves own a home together in Auburn and had a commitment ceremony five years ago. They share the same name and they wear wedding rings. I asked them if they already feel like they’re married.

“It’s pretty much the same except it’s really weird because people are like, ‘Well, you’re not really married, right? It’s not real.’ Or we get the, ‘Well, where did you get married because it’s not legal here.’ Thanks for reminding us that we’re technically, like, second class citizens because we don’t have the same rights,” Tiffany said.

But on Saturday, December 15th, Tiffany and Lorey will walk down the aisle at Shotgun Ceremonies Wedding Chapel in Pioneer Square, to Ed Sheeran’s “Kiss Me.” Shotgun’s owners decided to wave their usual fees and do all same-sex marriages for free from December 9th through the 15th. Co-owner Bronwen Stevenson will officiate her first gay wedding at 2 a.m. early Sunday morning.

“When that law passed I think I cried every day for a week just thinking about what they have gone through to get to this point. I’ve been married for twenty years and I can’t imagine somebody saying I’m not allowed to commit to this person and sign like everyone else. To me it’s very emotional.”

One of the details Tiffany and Bronwen are most excited about, is getting rid of one particular word.

“You’re the partners, quote end quote. No, she’s not my business partner, this is my wife!” Tiffany said.

“I’m going to be saying ‘wife and wife’ and ‘husband and husband’ and ‘fiance’ and all these things that they couldn’t say before. It’s really magical, in my opinion.”

A lot of these couples have been together forever and just need that piece of paper.

“Most of them have had elaborate weddings, they’ve all done that! So now, it’s like, let’s go to Vegas, let’s get this done, let’s make this official.”

“It’s just so beautiful to known that our state cares,” said Tiffany. “That they really care and see that we should be married to. It’s just a really beautiful thing.”

In downtown Seattle Thursday, couples lined up to get their marriage licenses. The office opened at midnight and by 4 o’clock in the afternoon 459 marriage licenses had been issued.

Here are some venues performing free same-sex weddings:

Shotgun Ceremonies Wedding Chapel

Skansonia & Lake Union Cafe

Center For Spiritual Living’s Big Gay Wedding

Vain Salon

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