Rev. Janice Carter

Wedding Celebrant and Officiant in the Seattle area

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Domestic Partnerships Turning into Marriages June 30th 2014

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In Washington State, those who are registered as domestic partners will automatically have their partnerships converted into marriages on June 30, 2014.

About 6,200 couples in Washington State will face this automatic change, which was one of the stipulations of the same-sex marriage law that Washington State voters approved in 2012.

The only registered domestic partnerships which will not be affected are the ones where at least one partner is 62 years old.  And the state will continue to let couples with at least one partner over 61 years of age – whether they are gay or straight – form domestic partnerships.

For more information on this issue, read the article from The March 14th issue of The Seattle Times.

If you don’t want your relationship turned into a marriage, the only option is to dissolve the partnership before June 30th.


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Protecting Benefits of Same-Sex Couples

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While the United States is in this transition period of recognizing same-sex partners to have the same (equal) rights as heterosexual couples, the legal situation can be very complex, even in states like Washington State where same-sex marriage is legal.

In an article in the Sunday Seattle Times on March 23, 2014, an article advises that same-sex couples, whether they are married or not, have a set of legal documents drawn up to protect them from situations where legal decisions can vary from state to state.

Click on the link below to get the full article.







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Income Tax Rules for Same-Sex Couples

Income tax season is upon us once again.

Same-sex couples who got married in 2013 in one of the 17 states (including Washington D.C.) that recognized same-sex marriage as of December 31, 2013,  now have the choice of filing as married filing jointly or married filing separately.  It would be good to do your tax return both ways to see which way is best for you.  Don’t be surprised if one of these two filing statuses will result in a larger tax bill than you had when you had to file as singles.  Filing as a single is no longer an option, even if it produces a lower tax bill,  just as the case with heterosexual couples.

If one person’s income is substantially larger than the other’s, filing jointly will usually be the choice which results in a lower tax bill.  Couples where both have high incomes have a good chance of running into a bigger tax bill, called a “marriage penalty”.   In either case, don’t guess – try it both ways to be sure.

The new rules for filing apply to same-sex couples who were married in states where such marriages are lawful, even if they live in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriages.  For same-sex couples who live in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriages, you must file as single, even if you are in a domestic partnership or civil union.

For same-sex couples who were married in Utah the last several days of  December 2013 after the federal court struck down that state’s ban on same-sex marriage, the couples are treated as married even though an appeal is pending.

If a same-sex couple has been legally married for several years, they could be eligible for refunds going back to 2010.  If  you qualify, you can prepare amended returns for 2010 (before April 15th 2013), 2011, and 2012.  If you would receive a refund, you can file the amended return.  If it does not produce a lower tax bill, then do not file them.

For more details, contact your accountant or the IRS.  This information is taken from a news article from the Seattle Times on February 23, 2014.

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Jo Flies From Okinawa to Marry Her Bride

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Jo flew from Okinawa, where she was stationed with the Air Force, and landed at SeaTac airport just hours before her wedding Sunday afternoon. She was picked up at the airport by her bride, Edessa, and their close friends and witnesses, Carmen and Sabina, and was whisked away to the SimpliDone Gardens for the upcoming wedding. Jo and Edessa had not seen each other for several months and waited to see each other until Edessa walked down the aisle. Edessa was wearing a stunning white dress with floral heels and was carrying a bouquet of wild flowers. Jo was dressed all in black with a white bow tie. Rev. Jan gave a heartfelt wedding ceremony. Barbara Roser took many beautiful photos of the newly-wed couple during and after the ceremony in different parts of the gardens.

After the ceremony, Edessa revealed the secret her floral shoes were keeping. On the bottom of the shoes were the words “I Do”! After the ceremony and pictures, the bridal party of four departed for a special dinner at Palisade Restaurant to celebrate the joining of Jo and Edessa in marriage after a six year friendship and romance.

We wish them a long and happy life together, and hope they enjoy their month together before Jo reports to her next duty station.

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Nashville Couple have a SimpliDone Wedding

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The SimpliDone Garden in Sammamish, Washington lay in wait for the brides to arrive. They appeared at the appointed time and were a vision of loveliness. Debra was resplendent in her black lace gown and Tara looked like a fairy tale princess in her tea-length white dress and red heels. The two flower girls looked like twins in their ankle-length white dresses with black sashes.

Debra and Tara live in Nashville and chose Seattle, Washington as the place to get married. This turned out to be a complex venture since Debra worked behind the scenes to have friends and relatives fly to Seattle to attend their wedding as a surprise to Tara. It was a successful venture and the guests added to the festivities of the occasion!

For their wedding ceremony, Debra and Tara wrote heartfelt and touching vows to each other. Debra pledged her life to Tara, “a life that is complex,
imperfect, yet eager to be yours until we leave this earth”. Tara vowed, “[Our love] is a love that will always be, and I promise to always believe in you and me. And to be thankful for everything we have and everything we are.”

We wish Debra and Tara much love and happiness as they travel down the road of life together at each other’s side.

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Long Term Partners Wed at SimpliDone Gardens

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Bobbi and Jean have officially been partners since their commitment ceremony 15 years ago. On June 15, 2013, they were thrilled to finally be able to be legally married! As they said their vows to one another, the guests could sense their joy and happiness as tears sparkled in their eyes and emotions made it hard to speak.

They were married in a beautiful outdoor wedding at the SimpliDone Gardens in Sammamish, Washington. Bobbi was resplendent in a long, crimson gown with gold detailing and a long train. Jean was attired in a coordinated ensemble consisting of a black shirt and suit with a maroon vest, tie, and pocket handkerchief. Bobbi’s two daughters and her four-year-old granddaughter attended, as did Jean’s father and cousin, and several friends and neighbors.

They had a beautiful ceremony, including a purification ceremony to wash away any past transgressions and a Unity Candle ceremony to symbolically join their lives together as the following words were said, “These candles represent the glow of spirit dwelling within each of us. Today Bobbi and Jean join their twin flames to kindle a single fire of passion and enlightenment, for their union and for all the world.” The ceremony ended with the Benediction of the Apaches.

We wish Bobbi and Jean many more years of love and happiness together!

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SimpliDone Wedding for Atlanta Couple

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Jason and Gerson were married on a warm, sunny morning in the SimpliDone Gardens in Sammamish, Washington. Rev. Jan was the officiant and Barbara Roser was the photographer and is the owner of the beautiful gardens.

Jason and Gerson flew from Atlanta for the intimate ceremony and left later that day for their honeymoon in Hawaii.  Even though they live in Atlanta, they love Washington State and come here a couple times a year to hike and enjoy the outdoors.

After the ceremony in the fern forest, the newlywed couple toasted each other and then cut their chocolate wedding cake with fudge frosting. Jason and Gerson had a chance to visit with Rev. Jan and Barbara on the deck after all the festivities were over while eating some cake.  After their honeymoon, they will return to Altanta where  Jason is a fireman and also owns a landscaping business and Gerson owns a housecleaning business.