The dead line for the opponents of marriage equality are nearing the deadline for them to turn all the signatures they have gathered to try and get Referendum 74 on the ballot in November, according to "Preserve Marriage Washington" (one of the most perverse name for a group that wants to take the basic human right of marriage away from people) they have enough signatures to get the measure on the ballot. As of Wednesday they claimed to have over 150,00 signatures which is am amount that the Secretary of States Office recommends to insure a buffer for invalid and duplicate signatures in order to meet the legal requirement of 120,557 valed signatures. They are cutting it close with Tuesday being June 5th and the deadline being Jun 6th, but if what they say is true, then sort of them having a much higher then average rate of non valid signatures, their measure will be on the ballot in November. Which means that it is going to be a long battle up until election day, or more importantly in a state that is all vote by mail, a battle up until the ballots hit the mail boxes and people start casting their vote. (as many are like me and my family and have voted up to a week before election day, thus the window of out reach is narrowed even more)
The next step in the process is going to be the checking and the counting of the signatures, and the signatures to be certified by the Secretary of States Office, which is a time consuming process of checking the signatures first for duplicates. Then after all those have been weeded out, the remaining signatures are checked against the state voter roll to be sure that they are a registered voter within the state. If the signature meets that criteria it is then certified and counted towards the required 120,557 signatures required to get on the ballot. Being as it is the last key step till the ballot it is one of the most closely watched steps along the way by both sides to try and insure that the count is accurate and not "corrupted". Now this is not the first time that a gay rights issue has wound up on the ballot in WA, in 09 Ref 71 which was vote on the states then everything but marriage law made the ballot and was approved, and this time around the signature release(Washington state law requires that all signatures of any referendum or initiative petition be released to the public) should go much more smoothly, as Ref 71's failed challenge to the law, in which the US Supreme Court ruled that the law was constructional and that petition signers have no right to have their names with healed, it will make it easier to keep a watchful eye on the honesty of the process.
While there is always hope that Ref 74 will not make the ballot, it is looking like short of them having much higher then average rate of non valid signatures the measure will make the ballot, and marriage equality will be up for vote in November. Polls have been mixed depending on the questions asked, and wording, but the latest poll has found that 54% of those that where polled support marriage equality, however the poll that found that answer did not ask how those polled would be voting on Ref 74. That is significant as in past polling on the subject there seemed to be a gap between the percentage of people that said they support marriage equality and the percentage of people that said they would vote to approve the referendum. This is significant because support that dose not turn into an approve vote really is as good as no support at all. The challenge is going to be narrowing that gap between support and an approve vote.
It promises to be a drawn out long battle as many national anti gay equality groups have already pledged support to "Preserve Marriage Washington" one of which is NOM. Which means that undoubtedly the prop 8 style adds will be making their appearance as fast as the signatures can be certified. All of this means that now is a good time to throw support behind Washington United For Marriage, in the fight to protect this landmark law, from those that wish to see it taken off the books. Their is hope though as many of the prop 8 style negative adds did not work back in 09 when in conjunction with Ref 71 they where used them to try and overturn the states then "every thing but marriage" law. Those opposed to equality then where sorely disappointed when the majority of voters approved Ref 71, which eventually paved the way for Washington states landmark marriage equality legislation. So the voters of the state have shown them selves to be smarter then the tactics of the anti equality crowed, and they have also had time to make the same sort of journey of progress that both the Governor Gregoire and President Obama have made. So one can hope that Washington will repeat the history it made with Ref 71 (being the first state for voters to uphold a gay rights law) and approve Ref 74. I will leave it at that for now my dear readers, as always thank you for subscribing, and commenting.