Effort To Overturn Marriage Equality In WA Officially Qualifies For November Ballot

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.


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  • MikeE

    So, when they gave black people equal rights, were there lots of ballot initiatives to have their rights removed again?

    I’m just asking, because, honest, I don’t know. I wasn’t around back then.

  • chris

    Shame on the 247,000+

  • WillBFair

    More brilliant startegy from gay leadership, wasting time and resources on a symbolic issue, with the possibility of causing a backlash during a crucial election year.

  • DB

    @MikeE: No, because it is unconstitutional to vote on the rights of individuals and minorities. It should not matter whether 95% or 5% of the population supports marriage. Although conservatives did have the Ku Klux Klan and control of many states in the 1960’s, they were not organized at the time in terms of ballot-box intervention. Had they been, inter-racial marriage would definitely have remained illegal. At the time that inter-racial marriage was legalized by the Supreme Court in 1967, over 90% of white Americans thought it should remain illegal. Allowing inter-racial marriage was MUCH more controversial than allowing same-sex marriage.

  • DB

    @Jeremy Dashiell: Yes, good point. You need to vote ‘Yes’ to support marriage. This is different than California’s Prop 8 where a ‘Yes’ vote banned marriage.

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