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Washington referendum waiting in the wings after passage of marriage bill

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February 9, 2012

By Al Ortiz

OLYMPIA, Washington: In this week's Tuesday Count report, the issue of same-gender marriage took the spotlight in the state of Washington. A piece of legislation recently was passed in the state senate that would legalize same-gender marriage in the state. The last hurdle for the bill was the Washington House of Representatives and the vote to take place there. Since the bill is not a ballot measure, the law would be enacted automatically.

Since then, events have materialized, as the bill received final passage by the Washington House of Representatives on February 9, 2012 by a vote of 55-43.[1]

According to reports, opponents of same-gender marriage will go forward with a proposed veto referendum to overturn the legislation once the governor signs the it into law. Opponents of the bill have until June 6, 2012 to collect at least 120,577 signatures to put the referendum on the November 2012 ballot

According to state law, in order to qualify for the ballot, veto referendum petitions require signatures equal to 4% of the votes cast for the office of governor. Supporters of the referendum have 90 days following the end of the legislative session (March 8, 2012) to collect sufficient signatures.

Once a Referendum Measure is certified, it is placed on the next state general election ballot for the voters to decide. A "Yes" vote approves the law as passed by the Legislature. A "No" vote rejects it.

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