Anti-Gay Groups File for Washington Marriage Referendum


Just days after Washington Governor Christine Gregoire signed marriage equality into law a referendum measure has been filed with the Attorney General’s office to begin the process of putting marriage equality to a public vote.

Dubbed Referendum 74, the question put before voters will be the text of the bill which they must then approve for the law to go into effect.  More on ballot procedure via The Washington Office of the Secretary of State’s blog:

The referendum places the text of the bill before them. An affirmative vote is to uphold the law as it passed the Legislature and was signed by the governor.  A vote to reject wipes out the measure and it does not take effect.  As with the 2009 vote on Referendum 71, the “everything but marriage” law, the sponsors who mount the effort to get the measure on the ballot will be asking for a “reject” vote on their referendum.  Bottom line: a vote to “approve” upholds the new law, a vote to “reject” abolishes the bill.

Marriage equality opponents must gather a minimum of 120,577 signatures, or 4 percent of all votes cast in the 2008 election for governor, though a figure of 150, 000 is recommended in order to cover invalid or duplicated signatures.

Opponents have until June 6 to gather the requisite number of signatures or Washington’s marriage equality law will come into effect the proceeding day, June 7.

The submission of amassed signatures will suspend the law — that is, prevent it from coming into effect — until after the signature check.

If the requisite number of signatures have been collected, the suspension of the law continues until the result of the November referendum is posted.

It may be worth noting that the United States Supreme Court has ruled that petition signatures can be released to the public, and therefore anti-marriage equality groups will not be able to shield signatories. This ruling came about due to a legal tussle concerning Washington’s 2009 referendum (Referendum 71) on expanding domestic partnerships. It will be interesting to see what, if any effect, this has on the signature gathering process.

A “Decline to Sign” campaign has been started to try and prevent the issue even reaching the ballot, with the website carrying this message: “By declining to sign, voters are saying that marriage equality is important enough that it should not be subject to vote, but put straight into law.”

You can learn more about the campaign here.

Related Reading:

Gov. Gregoire Signs Washington Marriage Equality Bill

Microsoft Supports Marriage Equality in Washington

WA Lawyer Moves to Repeal Gay Marriage (Before It’s Even Been Legalized)

Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to Made Underground.


Samantha Garlejo
Samantha Garlejo6 years ago

Love is a human experience, not a political statement. --Anne Hathaway

Andrew Carvin
Andrew Carvin6 years ago

I made a video about why Homosexuals should have equal rights.

Watch it, share it, and join the fight against the evil Homophobes.

Gina P.
Regina P6 years ago

Our governor finally gets something done right and they oppose it!! I'm a state employee and have had pay cuts and seen massive service cuts. She gets this right and it's opposed by narrow minded people. I'm beginning to think they had something to do with her budget problems too.

Norma V.
Norma Villarreal6 years ago

We may declare all are created equal, but we still have a ways to go...

Allen Pierce
Allen Pierce6 years ago

This is ONE Washington state resident who will be declining to sign any such petition. Every time the State Legislature passes a bill and the Governor signs it into law all of the opposition "losers" put together a referendum to have it overturned. Why even bother to elect state legislators if everything has to be put to a public vote?

On an aside. I have never been more proud of our Governor, Christine Gregoire. She has decided not to run for re-election, and with that decision made, she has really worked hard to get a great many things done, such as this Marriage Equality Bill. Thanks Chris. We will miss you.

Jennie R.
Jennie D6 years ago

I'm frustrated-----just what are we supposed to do with gays----shoot 'em, put them in a gulag, allow them to remain second class citizens who live their lives in secret, which invites abuse of the most horrific sort? I mean why do gays have to remain second class because some other people think they should? It makes no sense at all. Homosexuals deserve the same rights and respect heterosexuals enjoy.

Christopher Fowler

Debbie D. You need to read what I just wrote to Steve R., since you don't seem to get it either.

Thomas Petersen
Thomas Petersen6 years ago

Steve R is a little bit confused about the country we live in, IT'S A REPUBLIC NOT A DEMOCRACY. You want mob rule voting, go and move to a country that has a democracy. Though you'll wish you hadn't because they're only as smart as the people who cast votes. Could you imagine what this country would be like if everything was decided on by public voting whims. Our founding fathers/mothers realized this, and made the choice to go with a republic.

People,like Steve R, who don't know the difference between the two check out a dictionary or Wikipedia.

Christopher Fowler

Steve R. Once again you have demonstrated your flagrant ignorance of reality and, in particular, the difference between hate-based religious doctrine and CIVIL RIGHTS.

Go here and study this for a few years in place of your Bible:

It is the Constitution of the United States. Read it and learn something useful for a change. It beats the heck out of the idiotic drivel that you spout too often without thinking.

Once again, let me make this one thing PERFECTLY clear;

Christopher C.
Chris C6 years ago

Steve R...have you ever thought that maybe, just maybe the so-called majority could have been WRONG all along?!? Hitler and his followers were the majority at one point...did that make them right?