Opponents to same-sex marriage are prepared to start gathering signatures to place Referendum 74 on the ballot this fall, now that a Thurston County judge revised the ballot title to comply with Washington State law.
Here is the new language:
Statement of Subject: The legislature passed Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6239 concerning marriage for same-sex couples, modified domestic-partnership law, and religious freedom [and voters have filed a sufficient referendum petition on this bill].
Concise Description: This bill would allow same-sex couples to marry, preserve domestic partnerships only for seniors, and preserve the right of clergy or religious organizations to refuse to perform, recognize, or accommodate any marriage ceremony.
Ballot Measure Summary: This bill allows same-sex couples to marry, applies marriage laws without regard to gender, and specifies that laws using gender-specific terms like husband and wife include same-sex spouses. After 2014, existing domestic partnership are converted to marriages, except for seniors. It preserves the right of clergy or religious organizations to refuse to perform or recognize any marriage or accommodate wedding ceremonies. The bill does not affect affect licensing of religious organizations providing adoption, foster-care, or child-placement.
The original ballot title was written by Republican candidate for governor and current Attorney General Rob McKenna. McKenna included divisive and inaccurate talking points from our opponents, that were stripped from the title after supporters of the bill challenged McKenna's title in court. Rob McKenna has voiced his public opposition to same-sex marriage. Washington State law requires ballot titles to accurately reflect the contents of the bill they are addressing.
There are more than 8,000 registered domestic partnerships in Washington state, the majority of which would become marriages by 2014 if voters vote to "approve" referendum 74 in November.