Opponents of Washington State’s marriage-equality law have officially gotten a referendum onto the November ballot with more than 247,000 signatures submitted, the Secretary of State announced today after nearly a week of verification.
The number of names turned in far exceeds the required 120,577, though there have been some reports of fraud. According to the AP, a random sample of 7,561 signatures netted 6,877 valid signers.
David Ammons, a spokesman for Secretary of State Same Reed, said that over the weekend, signature verifiers found that the signatures in question did not match the names of legitimate registered voters on file. Ammons said the 50 petition sheets that the signatures were on were circulated by the same individual, apparently a paid signature solicitor.
Ammons said that sponsors estimated that about 25,000 of their signatures came from paid signature solicitors.
Joseph Backholm of the anti-equality group Preserve Marriage Washington said the invalid signatures came from “a rogue person.”
Wait, Sarah Palin got a job as a pollster?
If approved by voters, Referendum 74 will overturn the law allowing same-sex marriage passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire in February. That law should have gone into effect on Thursday but was postponed on Wednesday.
Washington State approved a domestic-partnership law in 2007 and, two years later, expanded it with an “everything but marriage” measure that guaranteed most rights afforded to heterosexual couples. It, too, was challenged in a referendum, but was upheld by voters. So much for the haters saying they just want to preserve the institution of marriage.
A recent poll by Strategies 360 indicates 54% of Washington voters support marriage equality.