A closer look at what Same-Sex Marriage means for the Tri-Cities

TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- Local voters resoundingly struck down same sex marriage. But support came strongly from the rest of Washington state.

It's a typical morning here at April and Melissa's house. But the coffee seems to flowing a little more freely. They've been together for eight years.

April Prior tells KEPR, "People can just look at us and know we're a couple... I mean, duh. "

Since it appears R-74 will be approved, April and Melissa can officially tie the knot.

"Seemed a little too good to be true," April continues.

Melissa Reddout explains, "We wanna have a life, we have three boys, go to work, raising a family, just like everybody else around here."

The Referendum didn't have overwhelming support statewide. The only counties which approved R-74 were on the Westside. Like many other issues that divide liberals and conservatives, none of the counties east of the cascades approved same-sex marriage.

April says, "It's the demographic here. There's a lot of conservative people."

In Benton county, voters rejected the referendum by a two-to-one margin. Even more decisive in Franklin and Yakima counties.

One Pasco Pastor tells KEPR, "I'm encouraged to hear that our area rejected R-74."

Pastor Darrel Johnsen was one of those who voted against it. He doesn't expect it to change what happens in his church. Churches aren't mandated to perform same sex marriages under the law.

"Certainly it'll be contested. Will it be overruled? I'm not sure what's gonna happen," he says.

Melissa and April know there are a number of pastors and places that welcome gay couples. But they aren't running to the altar.

"We'll probably wait a little to make sure that it doesn't get tied up in court, challenged. We would hate to go and do that and have it be voided. That would feel really sad," April says.

Even if they aren't rushing for a license, other gay couples will be allowed to, starting two weeks from Thanksgiving.

KEPR called around to see where same-sex marriage ceremonies will be held. River of Life Church and the Richland Shalom are open to them, as well as many wineries outside of the Tri-Cities. Many other churches we called were not yet accepting same-sex couples to be married or had not taken a stance yet.