2nd marriage measure falls short in Washington
Although one of the two marriage-related measures of interest to the Christian community easily made November’s ballot in Washington, the other one didn’t. And in neighboring Oregon, an abortion related measure won’t be on the ballot either.
In July sponsors of both Initiative 1192 in Washington and Initiative 25 in Oregon conceded that they had failed to secure the needed signatures by that month’s deadlines to qualify the measures. Concerned Christians were the primary force behind both efforts.
Initiative 1192 sought to define marriage as solely for one man and one woman; differing slightly from Referendum 74, which seeks to repeal Washing-ton’s new same-sex marriage law. While R-74 garnered a massive 247,331 signatures by June 6, more than double the minimum 120,577 needed, I-1192 fell far short — getting only 98,539 of the needed 241,153 voter signatures needed by July 6.
Across the border, more than 70,000 Oregoni-ans signed petitions to end mandatory state funding of abortion. However, 116,284 valid signatures were needed by July 6 to qualify Initiative 25 for the ballot.
“We had momentum on our side, but we simply ran out of time,” wrote Jeff Jimerson of Albany, co-chief petitioner for Initiative 25, in an e-mail to supporters.
“However, not qualifying for the ballot this year doesn’t mean we have failed. It means we’re making progress. It means we have come a long way in just two short years — starting from scratch with no experience, no infrastructure, no money, and virtually no support from outside organizations.”
Jimerson pledged that the drive will be attempted again — most likely in 2014.
“As I was recently reminded, big changes often require multiple attempts,” Jimerson wrote. “So let’s not give up or lose heart. We’ll regroup. And we will try again.. Be encouraged that even greater things are yet to come.”
As for Initiative 1192, Stephen Pidgeon of Everett, Wash., sponsor of the initiative and a current candidate for state attorney general, told The Olympian newspaper that part of his group’s lack of success was attributable to some leaders in the R-74 petition effort. He said they were attacking I-1192 because they felt the initiative ultimately would be overturned in federal courts.
After the failure of the I-1192 effort, the Seattle Times editorially praised Washington residents for not backing the campaign, which the newspaper termed “a complete and utter flop.” The Times also called for voters this fall to vote yes on R-74, which would reject a repeal of the gay-marriage law.
“Legal recognition of gay marriages does not impugn or threaten heterosexual marriage in any way,” the newspaper proclaimed.
Gary Randall of the Faith & Freedom Network and Foundation, which helped secure about 60,000 of the signatures for I-1192, wrote on his blog last month that he had received “maybe well over a thousand e-mails and comments” during the petition drive that affirmed Pidgeon’s comments about the reasons behind the failure.
“A spirit of diviseness has followed the effort to defend marriage,” Randall wrote. “And it is heartbreaking for some of us who focused solely on preserving marriage, not on who was leading and the personalities involved.”
Randall said thousands of people across the state who want to see traditional marriage preserved are troubled by such divisions, but also concerned that R-74 “is a one-shot deal” that “has no longevity.”
Even if R-74 succeeds in nullifying the same-sex marriage law, liberal state legislators have promised they would come back immediately with a new bill to redefine marriage — and do so repeatedly, if necessary.
Nevertheless, Randall said it is time for all those who seek to preserve traditional marriage to put aside their frustration and differences and work hard to see the same-sex marriage law overturned in November’s vote.
“Marriage is worth it,” he wrote. “It is bigger than all of this. It is God’s model — the universal social model of one man and one woman. It is worth standing for, regardless of what others may or may not do and say. And regardless of who may get the credit if we are successful.”