Seattle City Hall will open for a few hours on Sunday, December 9 to celebrate what are expected to be the first weddings of gay and lesbian couples in Washington state.

Eight municipal judges will be on hand to marry couples between the hours of noon and 5PM.

Passage of Referendum 74 on November 6 allows a gay marriage law approved by lawmakers to take effect on December 6. Washington's three-day waiting period means the state's first weddings won't begin until Sunday.

King County Executive Dow Constantine announced on Thursday that the King County Recorder's Office in Seattle will open just after midnight on December 6 to begin issuing licenses to gay couples. Constantine told the AP that he'll be in the office to sign the first marriage license.

With nearly 2 million residents, King County is the state's most populous county, and the 14th most populous in the United States.

Voters in Maine and Maryland also approved initiatives legalizing such unions. But Maryland's law won't take effect until January 1, while Maine's law is expected to come online 30 days after the results of the election have been certified by the state.