wait+see

Why Washington’s Gays Aren’t Rushing for Marriage Rights in 2010

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California’s voters aren’t the only one saying “no” to a 2010 ballot initiative to score marriage rights. Washington State, which just secured expanded domestic partnerships, doesn’t want to dive back into the marriage mess either.

While the effort to repeal Prop 8 was dealt a blow with the latest polling in California — where some 60 percent of voters said they didn’t want to see the issue on the 2010 ballot — Washington’s gays looking for a quick fix to the 1998’s Defense of Marriage Act, a state law that limited marriage to the guy-girl method, won’t be thrilled.

Neither activists behind Approve R-71, nor their opponents from Protect Marriage Washington, say they’re going to push for a ballot initiative to legalize same-sex marriage. Marriage advocates say they don’t have the support; indeed, “as of Friday, voters in 29 counties were rejecting the measure,” relays Washington’s Daily Herald.

But what about the legislative option? Also a no go. Not only does State Sen. Ed Murray say he doesn’t have the votes for his same-sex marriage bill, he’s confident it won’t even receive a hearing in 2010. Which has activists saying they’re going to lay off pushing legislatures just yet to take a vote on the bill. (That, and lawmakers facing re-election next year aren’t exactly begging to attach their name to a gay rights cause.)

So what about a courtroom to the state’s DOMA, a la Massachusetts? “Both sides say they aren’t planning to use the courts to press their cause, though they think their opponents will.”

Which means for now, domestic partnerships — which go into effect Dec. 3 — are where things stand for the foreseeable future.