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Washington fails to obtain signatures for anti same-sex marriage initiative

Washington State’s ballot on ending equal marriage has not received enough support to carry on, but we still need to act, says Melanie Nathan
Governor Christine Gregoire signed the same-sex marriage bill into law.
Photo by Kristina Lapinski.

Through a failure to gain enough signatures, Washington State will not face the confusion of a second ballot initiative to defeat the existing law that provides marriage equality in the state.

The voter initiative 1192, that sought to restrict marriage to a partnership between a man and a woman, has failed to make the ballot, as the group, Protect Marriage Washington, headed by attorney Stephen Pidgeon, did not succeed in obtaining enough signatures to qualify.

This would have been the second initiative on the ballot to bring an end to the existing marriage equality law, which was signed by Governor Gregoire earlier this year.

Now only a referendum to repeal that law which has already qualified for the November election will be on the ballot.

Had the initiative succeeded in reaching the ballot, campaigns would have been challenged by the resulting confusion in their respective fights, as the referendum would have had voters check 'no' to repeal the law, while the initiative would have asked voters to vote 'yes' to limit marriage to opposite-sex partners.

What seems more significant is that the failure to obtain the signatures needed in this second initiative, by the foes of marriage equality, may well indicate that Washington State is less likely to vote against marriage equality.

Taking a leaf from the pages of California’s Proposition 8 debacle, it is imperative that pro equality activists do not rest on their laurels in Washington State, as it is likely same-sex marriage foes in the form of Mormon, Catholic and other Churches will throw millions of dollars into the fight and do all in their power to win the initiative.

To this end all who value marriage equality should follow the example of Microsoft’s Bill Gates, who recently provided $100,000 (€81,000) to the fight, by stepping up to the plate to ensure the dollars needed for a resounding “NO” to the repeal of marriage equality in Washington State.

Watch the video by Gay USA The Movie of Govenor Gregoire signing marriage equality into law:

Melanie Nathan is the founding director of Private Courts Inc, a mediation, LGBTI equality and human rights advocacy firm based in San Francisco. She publishes oblogdeeoblogda.me and is co-producing Gay USA: the Movie. Follow her on Twitter here.

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