Seattle's Capitol Hill turned into a street party Tuesday night as voters celebrated the state's tentative approval of gay marriage.

With about half of the expected ballots counted Tuesday night, Referendum 74 was passing with 52 percent of the vote. About 61 percent of the votes have been counted.

That sent crowds of about 1,000 people out onto the street outside the Lobby bar, near Broadway and Pike, where the Referendum 74 party began on Election night.

We're celebrating something that should have been a right for a really long time. And now it finally is, and that's why we're here! said supporter Tara Stewart.

It's just a great celebration of everybody here, loving, caring, regardless of gender, orientation or anything, said supporter Sarah Mansa.

According to King County officials, marriage applications will have to be changed from saying bride and groom to Applicant 1 and Applicant 2.

The state says it plans to certify the election results on December 5. People could begin applying for the new marriage licenses on December 6. The first marriages could happen on December 9.

R-74 asked voters to approve or reject Washington state's new law legalizing same-sex marriage. That law was passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire earlier this year, but it's been on hold pending the election's outcome.

Gregoire spoke to supporters Tuesday night.

We showed the world that love wins out, that families of all types deserve the same rights and protections that are afforded to others, she said.

About $13.6 million was spent on Washington state's campaign, with the bulk of it coming from gay marriage supporters.

Measures allowing same-sex marriage also appear to have passed in Maine and Maryland.

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