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March 16, 2012 Print

Washington Referendum Moves Forward

by Karla Dial

The effort to repeal a same-sex marriage law in Washington passed its first major hurdle this week, when a county judge approved the wording for a referendum that could eventually wind up on the state ballot in November.

Though Thurston County Judge Tom McPhee removed language stating that the law “redefines marriage”—saying the word limit means the referendum can only mention the three main components of the law to be repealed, Joseph Backholm, executive director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington, said it makes little difference.

“Everybody understands that this fundamentally about redefining marriage. And is it going to be a genderless institution or not?” he said.

In order to get the referendum on the ballot, Protect Marriage Washington needs to gather 121,000 valid petition signatures by June 6. Backholm said 50,000 would be in “every corner of the state” by late this afternoon.

“We’ve got at least 50 locations where people can go and pick them up, and that number is increasing by the hour,” he said. “We’ve had at least 4,000 people who’ve signed up online to ask us to mail them at least one. We’ve got 800 churches at this point that want them. So there are a lot of avenues. It will be hard to miss it in any of the circles we run in. I’m encouraged about the level of interest.

“There’s a huge administrative task in getting it done. It’s a significant volunteer commitment, but I’m optimistic we’ll get it done.”

Learn more about Preserve Marriage Washington.