This November the voters of Washington State will decide whether or not to permit same-sex marriages. Earlier this year Governor Christine Gregoire signed a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage, but conservative activists launched a petition gathering campaign to stop the law until it was submitted to a popular referendum. According to the Secretary of State’s office, the referendum campaign has succeeded in turning in more than the 120,000 valid signatures required, so the measure should appear on the November general election ballot. From the Secretary of State’s office:
It’s official: Referendum 74 will be on the state’s General Election ballot this fall.
R-74 qualified after the signature-verification check was completed early Tuesday afternoon and then certified, clearing its way onto the ballot. Since the 247,331 signatures turned in by the sponsors were far more than the minimum of 120,577 valid signatures from registered Washington voters needed to make the ballot, a 3 percent sample check was conducted. Of the 7,561 signatures that were sampled during the check, 6,877 were accepted and the rest were rejected because the signer is not registered to vote, the signature on the petition did not match the signature on the voter registration record, or the voter signed the petition more than once.
The referendum gives voters a chance to approve or reject the state’s newly passed law that allows civil marriage for same-sex couples.
In addition to Washington, the issue of marriage equality is also set to appear on the November ballot in Maine and Minnesota. It is also possible that a referendum to stop Maryland’s new marriage equality law could also succeed in qualifying for the ballot this year.
Recently President Obama has come out in support of same-sex marriage. It will be interesting to see what if any role he or his campaigns plays in these state ballot measure campaigns.