first_imgFor more than 15 years, Paul Harris of Camas has been manager of the Clark County department that issues marriage licenses. Yet Harris and his partner of 40 years, James Griener, have been barred from obtaining a license for themselves, until now.Today, Harris, 64, and Griener, 68, will be the first gay couple in Clark County to apply for a marriage license.Clark County’s Marriage License Department at the Clark County Public Service Center, 1300 Franklin St., will offer extended hours for the next three days to accommodate an expected influx of gay couples wishing to marry:o 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and Friday and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.Equality Southwest Washington volunteers started welcoming couples at midnight at the service center. They were issuing numbers to the first 200 couples in line.The doors at the service center open at 7 a.m. so visitors can use restrooms and purchase snacks at the cafe. Refreshments will be offered to people waiting in line throughout the day courtesy of Starbucks, Women Democrats of Clark County, First Congregational United Church of Christ of Vancouver, Unitarian Universalist Church of Vancouver and other donors and volunteers. Marriage applicants are required to enter the service center through the parking garage in order to keep an orderly line. Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt will read a proclamation and congratulate couples at noon.Equality Southwest Washington has also organized public wedding events beginning Dec. 9, the first day gay couples may wed, due to a mandatory three-day waiting period.Public weddings will be held:o Dec. 9-12 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Esther Short Park, 610 Esther St.o Dec. 9 from midnight to 4 a.m. at First Congregational United Church of Christ, 1220 N.E. 68th St. in Vancouver.o Dec. 9 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Red Cross Building, 605 E. Barnes St.— Paris AchenHarris said he recognizes the historic value of being first in line, but the impetus for going first also has a practical purpose, Harris said. The couple’s marriage license application will be the first test for county software updates that reflect marriages of same-gender couples. The updates didn’t go into effect until midnight.last_img read more