Washington same-sex referendum supporters turn in signatures

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June 7, 2012


By Al Ortiz

OLYMPIA, Washington: Opponents of a state legislative bill enacted in session - Senate Bill 6239 (and HB 2516, its counterpart in the state House) - that would legalize same-sex marriage argue that the question should be put to a public vote.

They may get their wish.

On June 6, supporters of a referendum to overturn the law filed more than 200,000 signatures to the Washington Secretary of State.

Preserve Marriage Washington, the group leading the referendum effort, turned in the signatures that will be reviewed by the secretary's office over the next week to see if the measure can be placed on the November 2012 ballot.[1][2]

Also known as Referendum 74, the proposal was filed with the Washington Secretary of State within a few hours after the state governor signed SB 6239 into a law earlier this year.

In order to qualify for the ballot, veto referendum petitions require signatures equal to 4% of the votes cast for the office of governor, which amounts to at least 120,577. Those signatures must have been turned in by June 6, 2012. Once a Referendum Measure is certified (sufficient signatures have been filed and certified as valid), 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.

Before circulation began, on March 13, 2012 Thurston County Superior Court Judge Thomas McPhee ruled that the proposed referendum's language would not include the words "redefine marriage." Supporters of the targeted bill, SB 6239, stated that they their proposal did not "redefine" marriage. Supporters of the referendum, however, contested that. According to reports McPhee's ruling is final and cannot be appealed.

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