OLYMPIA, Wash. — Now that the Legislature and governor have made same-sex marriage part of life in the Evergreen State, effective this June, those seeking to delay or fully stop it with a public vote are taking a two-pronged approach.
One is a referendum that was filed with the state on Feb 13 by Joseph Backholm of the conservative Family Policy Institute of Washington, with the support of the Washington, D.C.-based National Organization for Marriage.
The referendum seeks to repeal the new law, Senate Bill 6239, which Gov. Christine Gregoire had signed earlier that day after the Legislature approved it in recent weeks.
The other is an initiative that was filed recently by Washington lawyer and state attorney general candidate Stephen Pidgeon and that would define marriage as solely for “one man and one woman.”
To get on the November statewide ballot, both efforts will require gathering signatures of state voters, and a vigorous campaign will involve concerned Christians and churches statewide. Supporters of Referendum 74 have until June 6 to collect 120,577 signatures — 4 percent of the total votes cast in the 2008 gubernatorial election — or the law goes into effect the next day.
For Initiative 1192 to get on the ballot, there must be 241,153 signatures — 8 percent of the total votes cast in the 2008 governor’s race — collected by July 6.
But should both make the ballot, halting same-sex marriage would require a different approach to voting on each measure. They would have to vote no on the referendum, and yes on I-1192.
That’s because with the referendum, voters would be asked to decide based on the text of the legislation signed by Gregoire. If a voter wanted to uphold the law, he or she would vote yes. To overturn the gay marriage legislation would require a no vote.
But those opposing same-sex marriage would vote yes on I-1192, as the initiative reads: “This measure would define marriage as a civil contract between one man and one woman and prohibit marriage when the parties are persons other than one man and one woman. Should this measure be enacted into law?”
Gary Randall of the Faith & Freedom Network and Foundation, a key leader in a past referendum effort that narrowly failed to overturn Washington’s “everything but marriage” domestic partnership law, noted on his blog last month that the press and some others are saying that having two pro-marriage items on the ballot will be confusing.
He disputes that.
“People are capable of voting ‘yes’ on one and ‘no’ on the other,” he writes. “The folks are smarter than some think. They can vote correctly in two boxes in the same election.”
One challenge facing those seeking to end the new law is an apparent disagreement within their own ranks that Randall has acknowledged in his blog. He wrote that he was disappointed other prominent names were not included as signers on the new referendum. Among them, he said, are state Rep. Matt Shea, state Sen. Val Stevens and Kirkland Pastor Ken Hutcherson — all of whom have been working on the effort to overturn SB 6239.
“Who controls a referendum is important,” Randall wrote. “It is not a matter of ego; it is a matter of maximizing the effort with the broadest possible coalition. It is also a matter of responsible stewardship and trust.”
According to Randall, the National Organization for Marriage and Backholm had said the others had not been “vetted” and might have said or done something in the past that would be harmful to the campaign. Also, Backholm’s Lynnwood-based agency is affiliated with Focus on the Family, which has indicated it will only provide financial support to the campaign under its current leadership, Randall wrote.
Despite his disappointment, Randall said it is crucial both the referendum and initiative efforts be supported and that the petitioning for both be pursued.
But Randall said that from his perspective, the initiative has one advantage over the referendum.
“Should R-74 be successful in overturning SB 6239, and I believe it will, the door would still be open for Sen. Ed Murray (of Seattle) and others to introduce a new marriage bill in the future. Should I-1192 be successful, and I believe it will be if we can get the signatures to put it on the ballot, it will essentially block future attempts to redefine marriage. I-1192 would make it very, very difficult to redefine marriage in the future.”
The Family Policy Institute said petitions for the referendum will likely be available this month. Those wanting to circulate petitions can receive them by mail, at www.fpiw.org or www.preservemarriagewashington.com.
Randall said he has a network of several thousand people across the state who are ready to not only sign, but also circulate petitions for both the referendum and the initiative. He said petitions should soon be available at thousands of churches statewide.online dapoxetinepurchase dapoxetine cheap brand viagra usa buy dapoxetine canadageneric cialis dapoxetinebuy dapoxetine europebuy domperidone new zealand generic viagra with dapoxetine 160 mg