While Washington’s same-sex marriage bill is destined to be on the governor’s desk within two weeks, it’s pretty much a certainty that the issue will be forced onto the November ballot.
“This is an issue that moves people unlike most,” said Joseph Backholm, executive director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington. Backholm’s group was among those who unsuccessfully tried to overturn the state’s 2009 expansion of domestic partnership rights for gay and lesbian couples, known as the “everything but marriage” bill. The law was upheld by 53 percent of voters. Backholm said that this campaign will be different than that behind R-71. “We’re going to be more organized,” he said. “We’ll have a strong state effort and a larger national presence as well.” Backholm pointed to the precedent of voters overturning gay marriage laws in California in 2008 and in Maine the following year. “We’re not talking the Bible Belt,” he said. “Even in left-leaning states, they’ve looked at this, raised an eyebrow and said, ‘no, that’s not marriage.'”
Hate groups need to gather 120,577 signatures by June 6th. If they fail, marriages may commence immediately. If they succeed, there will be no marriages until the vote.