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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Anti-gay groups in Washington submit signatures to put marriage law on 2012 ballot

Today, anti-gay activists in Washington state submitted enough signatures to place the freedom to marry on the November 2012 ballot. In February, Washington Governor Christine Gregoire signed a freedom to marry bill into law after it was approved with bipartisan support in the Washington state legislature. The law was scheduled to take effect later this week. 
Now, the law will appear on the November ballot in the form of Referendum 74, which asks Washington residents to decide whether or not to uphold the freedom to marry in the state.  
Freedom to Marry's National Campaign Director Marc Solomon released a statement criticizing the push to overturn the freedom to marry. He said:
During the week in which loving and committed same-sex couples in Washington were preparing to share in the joy of the first marriage ceremonies in the state, anti-gay advocates have decided instead to submit signatures forcing them to put a hold on their happiness and fend off a referendum on whether or not they can get married.

We know that Washingtonians believe in freedom and fairness, and a majority want to see all people share in the joy and responsibilities of marriage. As an active partner in Washington United for Marriage, Freedom to Marry will work tirelessly to ensure that voters hear the stories, and learn about the lives of, loving and committed same-sex couples from Washington. We are confident that, as they do, they will conclude that a vote to take away their freedom to marry is out of sync with the Golden Rule values that all Washingtonians hold.

The marriage opponents' drop of 200,000 signatures did not come as a huge surprise in Washington - it was always expected that these activists would obtain the number of signatures required to put marriage to a vote in November. Since February, supporters of the freedom to marry have been working hard to prepare for the ballot initiative, engaging in conversations across the state about why loving, committed couples need the ability to marry. 
Last week, a poll out of Washington demonstrated majority support for marriage in the state, with 55 percent saying they believe all loving couples should be allowed to marry. We need to continue growing that majority in preparation for the November election.
Washington is part of Freedom to Marry's Win More States Fund, our campaign to raise at least three million dollars on targeted marriage campaigns across the country. Every single penny donated to the Win More States Fund will go directly toward working to win marriage in Washington and other targeted states. 
In the coming months, Freedom to Marry will continue to be a leading member of Washington United for Marriage, a coalition of organizations committed to securing marriage for same-sex couples in Washington. Washington United for Marriage has set a goal of raising $200,000 by midnight on June 15 to kickstart the campaign to uphold marriage in the state. Click here to donate to the Win More States Fund and help Washington United for Marriage reach their goal.