No surprise: on Valentineâ€™s Day, Feb. 14, the day after Washington Gov. Gov. Chris Gregoire signed legislation legalizing marriage rights for same sex couples in that state, opponents of marriage equality filed a referendum
to repeal challenging the new law. (See Andrew Harmonâ€™s interview with Gregoire in The Advocate ) The challenge is designated as Referendum 74 and according to blogger David Ammons on the Secretary of State’s site:
Itâ€™s likely to be early March before R-74 sponsors can print and circulate petitions.Â Their deadline for turning in at least 120,577 valid signatures is June 6. That is one day before the new law, SB6239, ordinarily would have taken effect.Â The submission of signatures suspends the law from taking effect until after signature verification and, if qualified with enough valid signatures, until the election is conducted this fall and certified by Dec. 6.
The text of R-74 will be the text of the law.
If it makes the ballot, voters will decide whether to affirm or reject the new law.
Ammons also has a post on FAQ on pending gay-marriage referendum, including that a referendum takes a simple majority to win and this critical note:
An affirmative vote is to uphold the law as it passed the Legislature and was signed by the governor.Â A vote to reject wipes out the measure and it does not take effect.Â As with the 2009 vote on Referendum 71, the â€śeverything but marriageâ€ť law, the sponsors who mount the effort to get the measure on the ballot will be asking for a â€śrejectâ€ť vote on their referendum.Â Bottom line: a vote to â€śapproveâ€ť upholds the new law, a vote to â€śrejectâ€ť abolishes the bill.
Washington United for Marriage is on top of the referendum. Meanwhile, the exuberance over the new right to marry continues. Republican state representative Maureen Walsh appeared with her lesbian daughterÂ Â Shauna on The Last Word with Lawrence Oâ€™Donnell â€“ video of Walshâ€™s comments on the floor before the vote have now gone viral.