Washington Marriage Opponents File Signatures
June 6th, 2012
Marriage equality opponents in Washington filed more than 200,000 signatures today for a referendum to place the state’s same-sex marriage law up for a vote. The group, Preserve Marriage Washington, submitted the signatures just one day before the law granting full marriage to same-sex couples, which was signed into law in February, was due to take effect. By filing these signatures, that puts the law on hold while State officials review the filing to determine whether Referendum 74 will qualify for the ballot.
If Referendum 74 does qualify, it will set up an unusual dynamic in the upcoming election. For all thirty-two previous ballot campaigns on marriage equality, a “no” vote was the vote to cast to prevent permanent bans on same-sex marriage to be written into state constitutions. But for Referendum 74, a “yes” vote is the vote for marriage equality. That is already starting to confuse some people:
My neighbor walked into the coffee shop this morning—a working mom, has a wonderful kid, thriving career, acres of smarts, and enthusiastic support for gay marriage—and proudly informed me she was prepared to reject Referendum 74. Which seems like it makes sense. Anti-gay Preserve Marriage Washington is trying to place R-74 on the ballot to repeal Washington State’s marriage law, so naturally a person like my neighbor thinks that she wants to reject whatever they’re doing. But she doesn’t. She wants to approve R-74.
I’m sure that will trip us up once or twice before this thing is over.
Washington’s Ref 74 soon to be a reality
May 31st, 2012
Those who are gathering signatures for R-74, a referendum on Washington’s November ballot putting that state’s marriage law up to confirmation from the voters, are predicting that they will turn in sufficient ballots to ensure qualification on next Tuesday. They will need 120,577 valid signatures, have about 150,000 from volunteers and project that when paid signatures are added in the total will exceed 200,000.
Three years ago, a sister referendum putting domestic partnership expansions before the voters (Ref 71) had so few surplus signatures that there was a strong suspicion that it would not qualify. After over a week of counting and comparing to voter rolls, there was a margin of only a few thousand valid signatures. This time around, absent a shockingly low validation rate, the referendum is assured to go before voters.
The good news is that a Strategies 360 poll for the Associated Press found strong support for legal marriage among likely voters.
Do you think it should be legal or illegal for gay and lesbian couples to get married?
54% – legal
33% – illegal
4% – depends
8% – “Elvis is living in my basement”
The poll has a margin of error of 4.4% and appears to have valid methodology and does not seem to have any leading questions. While this question does not specifically ask about intent to vote on Referendum 74, it is very encouraging.
Support comes from 87% of Democrats, 52% of Independents, and 22% of Republicans. And a strong majority of support comes from King County and North Puget Sound while West Washington polled at 50% to 37% and East Washington eked out a plurality of 44% to 41%. Age trended predictably with only those over 65 failing to produce a majority (44% to 40%).
The election should have a strong turn-out as while the poll shows support for the reelection of Barack Obama, the gubernatorial race is within the margin of error with Republican Rob McKenna leading. Additionally, questions on the ballot about the legalization of marijuana and college tuition may ensure that younger voters show up at the polls.
NOM may blather on about “31 states” and “the people have always voted no” but we have a very good chance at winning in Washington.
NOM Boycotts Starbucks
March 21st, 2012
Maggie Gallagher and Johnathan Baker, National Organization for Marriage’s director for what they call “The Corporate Fairness Project,” attended the annual Starbucks shareholder meeting today. Baker, as a Starbucks shareholder, addressed the meeting and took the board to task for the “controversial stand Starbucks has taken here in Washington in support of same-sex marriage.” Citing a Starbucks message endorsing Washington’s Referendum 74, a proposal that would allow marriage equality to take effect in the state, as reflecting Starbucks’ core values as a company, Baker asked if that decision was made by the board of directors and questioned whether the decision would hinder the company’s efforts to expand internationally. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz responded:
Any decision of this type or magnitude has be made with great thoughtfulness and I would assure you that a senior team of Starbucks discussed this. And it was, to be candid with you, not something that was a difficult decision for us and we did share this with some members of the board as well. [Applause and cheers]
I don’t want to answer the question in any way that would be disrespectful to you or other people who might see it differently. I think Starbucks has many constituents, and from time to time we are going to make a decision that we think is consistent with the heritage and the tradition of the company that perhaps may be inconsistent with one group’s view of the world or a decision we may make. I said earlier in my prepared remarks that we’re not perfect, and from time to time we may make a mistake or people may view it as a mistake. But we made that decision, in our view, through the lens of humanity and being the kind of company that embraces diversity.”
And with that, NOM announced their boycott:
“Unlike our opponents, we do not target whole companies for the actions of an individual business executive in that company,” said Brian Brown, NOM’s president. “But Starbucks has taken a corporate position in support of redefining marriage for all of society. We will not tolerate an international company attempting to force its misguided values on citizens. The majority of Americans and virtually every consumer in some countries in which Starbucks operates believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. They will not be pleased to learn that their money is being used to advance gay marriage in society.”
Gregoire signs marriage bill
February 13th, 2012
Governor Chris Gregoire has just signed the marriage bill, adding Washington to the list of US states that provide (to the extent of a state’s power) equality under the law to their gay citizens. Should there be no challenge, this law will come into effect on July June 7.
There will, however, be a challenge. The Family Policy Institute of Washington – with the full support of the Roman Catholic Church – is organizing a petition drive. Should they collect 120,577 valid voter signatures by July June 6, the vote will be stayed until it is either confirmed or rejected by the voters on their November ballot. The odds are pretty good, but not certain, that the signatures can be collected (oddly, they had difficultly in collecting signatures in 2009 to put domestic partnerships up to a vote).
Rep. Walsh leads with her heart
February 9th, 2012
During the marriage debate, State Representative Maureen Walsh (R – 16th) said that she doesn’t wax eloquently but she is guided by her heart and her mind. And as you’ll see, that can be very powerful.
Washington House approves marriage bill
February 8th, 2012
The Washington State House of Representatives has just passed the marriage bill 55-43. Now it goes to Governor Chris Gregoire for signature.
Anti-equality activists have until June 2 to gather 120,000 valid signatures. If they do so, the bill will go to the voters for confirmation or repeal in November. If they do not, the bill becomes law and gay couples in Washington will gain equal status.
But marriage equality is not without it’s difficulties. Now poor devoutly Catholic little ol’ lady wedding cake bakers will have to shoulder the burden of figuring out how to market to the gay community without their priest finding out.
Three Democrats voted no and two Republicans supported equality.
Rep. Maureen Walsh, R-College Place, said that the bill was a matter of equality.
“Why in the world would we not allow those equal rights to those individuals who are truly committed to each other in life?” she asked. She noted that her daughter told her she was gay a few years ago.
“Nothing’s different,” she said. “She’s still a fabulous human being. And some day, by God, I want to throw a wedding for that kid.”
And that is the true face of equality: Mothers saying, “when are you going to settle down and get married?” and “but you’ve always loved fuchsia and it makes such lovely a bridesmaids color.”
Kidding aside, i love being able to report bipartisan support for equality. It may only be two or three or four in each vote, but it means that we are making strides into the hearts of the people and that our rights and equality are judged less on partisan divisive deal-making or deal-breaking and more by the promises offered in our constitution.
But God I long for the day when “and it got Republican support” will be seen as peculiar and obvious.
A Christian question
February 6th, 2012
For many Americans the question of marriage equality circles around what they see as ideal or moral or approved by their Christian faith. It is a question of “what does God want them to do?” And being convinced that homosexuality is a sin, they need go no further to justify their discrimination.
But that approach misses the general theme of Jesus and the early Christian writers. The gospels and epistles don’t discuss what the Roman law should be. The early church didn’t establish agenda to oppress the worship of Diana or to seek dominion over the mountains of entertainment and government. Even their condemnation of unacceptable behavior didn’t extend beyond refusing to fellowship with the offender.
Although one would be hard pressed to see it in the culture or the dogma, Christianity was never supposed to be focused on the flaws of others, real or imagined, or to shape society in a godly manner. Rather it was designed as a personal faith directed inward and evidenced by how it changes the individual, not what he could demand of his neighbor.
The real question that Christians are scripturally directed to ask, the one that would be familiar to the founders of the faith, is “what does God want me to do?” And it is this question that Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen (D-Camano Island) asked herself.
“I have very strong Christian beliefs, and personally I have always said when I accepted the Lord, I became more tolerant of others. I stopped judging people and try to live by the Golden Rule. This is part of my decision. I do not believe it is my role to judge others, regardless of my personal beliefs. It’s not always easy to do that. For me personally, I have always believed in traditional marriage between a man and a woman. That is what I believe, to this day.
“But this issue isn’t about just what I believe. It’s about respecting others, including people who may believe differently than I. It’s about whether everyone has the same opportunities for love and companionship and family and security that I have enjoyed.
I am certain that Sen. Haugen will be soundly condemned by those who will claim that she “went against her faith and her religion.” But her considerations go to the heart of what Christianity was intended to be and, sadly, so seldom is.
NOM’s sad little dishonest “survey”
February 2nd, 2012
What do you do when all the polls are against you? What do you do when accurately reporting social attitudes demonstrates that you are outside the mainstream and that people aren’t buying your arguments anymore. What do you do to justify your continued ‘defense of the family’ when it becomes clear that ‘the family’ doesn’t want your defense?
Well, if you are the National Organization for Marriage, you make sh!t up. And what better way than to conduct your own “survey” of the attitudes of Washington voters and pass it off as meaningful. Here’s what they say about their little survey.
When reminded that Washington State has a civil union law for gay couples, 57% of voters say it is not necessary to redefine marriage. 72% of voters think state lawmakers should work on other issues rather than same-sex marriage. A nearly identical number -71% of voters—believe the people should decide the marriage issue; only 9% think legislators should decide the matter.
“If the Washington Legislature wants to change the definition of marriage, which 57% of voters oppose, NOM calls on them to give this decision to voters. Thirty-one other states have been able to vote on the definition of marriage, and Washington voters deserve the same opportunity,” Brown said. “Voters have made it clear in this survey that they alone should decide the marriage issue—not legislators. Let the people vote.”
But reading the actual survey is just funny. They tried everything they could to get desired results from this “survey” and still Washingtonians didn’t give them what they wanted. And while the survey is meaningless from a social survey standpoint, it does illustrate how dishonest NOM actually is willing to be.
First, NOM stacked the deck. Choosing an age sample that understated those under 45 and overstate those over 65 by about 3-4%. They also found a sample that is 36% conservative and 34% liberal on social issues. In Washington. And in a state that voted for Dukakis, Clinton, Gore, Kerry, and Obama (with an 18 point spread), their sample is 37% leaning Democrat and 35% leaning Republican.
And then NOM played the ‘push poll’ game, setting up language to try and jostle participants into giving them an answer that they can use for political gain. It’s a very common tactic of politicians, but it is despicable and immoral when used by a group that pretends to be protecting the voters.
The first question is about whether the participant is a voter. No problem. But then it is followed by three ‘set-up’ questions designed to place the participant as an opponent to the legislature: 2) is Washington going in the right direction or wrong track, and 3) how would you rate the job performance of Gov. Gregoire and 4) the legislature. Rating categories were excellent, good, only fair, poor, other.
“Only fair” is an interesting option. Usually “fair” stands alone, as an indication of acceptable but not particularly laudable. However, by adding “only”, NOM poisons this option and takes it from “okay” and implies a failure. This intentional shading was necessary in order to push the participant into being suspicious of the legislature and governor.
And then come the marriage questions. And the first one is just laughable obvious.
5. As you probably know, since 2010 Washington has had a civil union law which gives gay couples all the legal rights of married couples. Now some people want to pass a new law, which changes the definiton of marriage, so that it is no longer between a man and a woman, but between any two people. Do you feel it is necessary or not necessary to pass now a new law which changes the definition of marriage in this way?
57% Not Necessary
7% Don’t Know / No Response
Any two people. Hmmm. Like, say, siblings or parent and child or fundamentalist Mormon and his unwilling 14 year old bride, or you and the girl down the street that put out a restraining order on you. Any two people… yeah, that’s just a lie. Not a misstatement, not a convenient term for a complex issue. Nope. Just a lie.
And is it “necessary now”? Well, considering the economy and other issues of concern, having 36% say that it’s necessary now is a HUGE failure for NOM.
6. Who do you think should decide what the definition of marriage is in Washington state: should it be defined by the courts, or should it be defined by the state legislature, or should it be defined by the voters of the state?
8% Defined by the courts
9% Defined by the Legislature
71% Defined by the voters
12% Don’t know / no response
Okay. That’s probably somewhat reflective of their views.
7. If you were able to speak today with your local state legislator, would you tell him or her that passing a new which charges the definition of marriage is something you want the state legislature to work on at this time, or would you tell him or her that the state legislature should work on solving other problems?
23% Work on marriage law
72% Work on solving other problems
4% Don’t know/no response
Again, colossal fail for NOM. A quarter of Washington residents think that marriage equality is more important than anything else.
But here is the clincher. Here is the question to which everything was geared. Here is the answer that NOM has been driving for:
8. And if you were able to speak today with your local state legislator, would you tell him or her to vote for this new law which changes the definition of marriage, so that it is no longer between a man and a woman but between any two people, or to vote against this change?
42% Vote for new marriage law
49% Vote against marriage change
10% Don’t know / No Response
Having done everything they could to stack the survey population and the skew the poll to show that “the people” don’t want equality, still they couldn’t get more than half to say to vote against the bill. Having gotten participants to agree that it wasn’t necessary or more important than other matters and that it should be up to “the voters”, still 42% said to vote for the “any two people” bill.
Oh, NOM, you are a sad little group, aren’t you? Unethical, immoral, dishonest, and still losing your culture war over the hearts and minds of decent people.
Washington Senate says yes to equality
February 1st, 2012
Tonight the Washington State Senate voted with a bipartisan majority to recognize marriage equality for same-sex couples: 28 – 21.
Now it goes to the House where passage is nearly certain and to Governor Gregoire for signature.
Anti-gays will collect signatures to get it on the ballot, but that is all a possible future and tonight we rejoice.
Minor amendment may get two more GOP Senate votes in Washington
February 1st, 2012
Josh Feit at PubliCola is reporting that two more Washington State Republican Senators may vote for marriage equality tonight if they can amend the proposed bill slightly.
Sens. Fain and Hill will vote for the marriage bill if a couple of friendly amendments are passed to clarify that clergy and religious institutions do not have to recognize gay marriage for things such as premarital counsel.
I have no problem with that. They already can refuse the perform the service, not allow their sanctuary, or meeting hall. I can’t see any problem with saying, “Okay, Rev. Joe, you don’t have to give gay couples premarital counseling if its against your religion.” I can’t imagine why anyone would want premarital counseling from someone who is going to counsel you not to marry.
Fain Both Fain and Hill joined Republican Senators Litzow and Pflug and 25 24 Democrats to pass this bill with a healthy bipartisan majority of 28 -21.
February 1st, 2012
Now that anti-gays cannot go to Macy’s or even JC Penny’s to buy a shirt, can’t drink coffee or dine out in Seattle, and can’t use Windows write their screeds, their options for social survival were slim. But they still could use some smartphones to buy things online. Now even that is tougher.
“Amazon is joining other Pacific Northwest companies, including Microsoft, Starbucks and Nike, in support of Washington state’s marriage equality bills,” Amazon said in a statement released by spokeswoman Mary Osako. “The spirit of these bills is consistent with our longstanding employment practices.”
I think that if those anti-gays really believe in the sanctity of special privileges for themselves, then they have a moral obligation to personally boycott every single company that supports equality. Forever. And no weaning off, or making threats; live up to your convictions starting right now. God is watching.
If it helps, I think Chick-fil-a if you stock up for the week.
The Daily Agenda for Wednesday, February 1
February 1st, 2012
New Hampshire Legislature May Vote On Marriage Repeal: Concord, NH. Word has it that the New Hampshire legislature may bring a bill to repeal marriage equality up for a vote today. While Republicans hold veto-proof majorities in both houses, it’s unclear whether they will have the votes to override Gov. John Lynch’s (D) promised veto. A number of Republicans have come out against repealing marriage equality, while others are keeping mum simply because they want the whole issue to go away. As one former Republican House speaker explained, “It’s kind of one of those issues we’re going to have to deal with but wish we didn’t have to, in my opinion.” Marriage equality has been the law of the land since January 1, 2010.
Washington Senate to Vote On Marriage Equality: Olympia, WA. At the other end of the country from New Hampshire, the Washington state Senate is expected to vote on marriage equality later this afternoon or early evening. Twenty-five Senators, including two Republicans, have pledged their support for the proposal, providing the minimum needed for passage in that chamber. A similar bill is awaiting committee action in the House.
Langston Hughes: 1902. He was one of the innovators of a new form of poetry: jazz poetry. And it’s his poetry that he is best known for. Born in Joplin, Missouri, he moved to New York City to attend Columbia, but was more interested in the goings-on in Harlem. He traveled throughout the world, and while his writings reflect those travels, he remained rooted in the experience of the Harlem Renaissance. His 1934 collection of short stories, The Ways of White Folks, tells of the intersection of black and white, and his screen play for Way Down South came out in the same year as Gone With the Wind. He remained closeted for his entire life, although some say that if you ignore the pronouns you can see hints of homoeroticism in some of his poems. Other unpublished poems appear to have been written to a black male lover. Another short story, Blessed Assurance,” deals with a father’s anger over his son’s “queerness.” But his finances were always precarious, and he would not have been able to afford the fallout of openness about his sexuality. He died in 1967 after abdominal surgery, and his ashes are interred at the Arthur Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem.
If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).
And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?
Washington marriage bill now up for tomorrow’s Senate vote
January 31st, 2012
The Senate Rules Committee voted Tuesday to advance the measure for a vote by the full chamber with Lt. Gov. Brad Owen, president of the Senate, saying that he has emphasized tolerance and diversity at state schools for decades, which would make it “hypocritical for me to not support this bill.”
“For me, this is not a religious question,” said Owen, a Democrat. “It’s a legal question.”
The committee advanced the bill on a 14-7 vote, with six of the seven Republicans on the committee in opposition. Sen. Cheryl Pflug, R-Maple Valley, voted to advance it. She is one of two Republican senators who have said they will support the measure.
The Senate vote Wednesday is expected to come in late afternoon or early evening.
The count is 25, the minimum needed. Hope and pray that no one decides at the last minute to betray their conscience and sense of fairness and decency.
WA Senate to Vote On Marriage Equality Wednesday
January 30th, 2012
The Washington State Senate has scheduled a vote on SB 6239, the bill to provide marriage quality, on Wednesday. Undoubtedly, anti-equality proponents are already lining up their minions to try to pressure key state Senators to switch their votes after last week’s announcement that marriage supporters have the votes needed for passage with bipartisan support. If you’re a Washington voter or resident, you can find your Senator here.
Meanwhile, across the Capitol, the state’s House Judiciary Committee approved that chamber’s marriage bill 7-6 on a straight party line vote. The bill will next go to a fiscal committee, but a date for the hearing hasn’t been set.
Opponents vow to collect signatures for a referendum to veto the measure if it passes the legislature and is signed into law.
January 25th, 2012
And of course, (Seattle-area pastor Ken) Hutcherson goes there: “If this law is passed, what is going to happen? Now ask your guests in the studio. Do they believe that if they change the definition of marriage being between one man and one woman, what is going to stop two men one woman, two women one man, one man against a horse, one man with a boy, one man with anything?“
Horses, huh? The problem with Hutcherson (aside from the the obvious batshittery-craziness) is that he’s not very original.
We have the votes in Washington
January 23rd, 2012
Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, announced Monday that she supports gay-marriage legislation in the Senate, giving proponents the 25 votes needed for passage.
The state House already has enough lawmakers in support of the measure to approve it. Gov. Chris Gregoire backs the bill as well.
And with the pressure of “25th Vote” now gone, I wouldn’t be surprised if one or more of the remaining ‘undecided’ Senators votes for marriage as well.
Of course it isn’t over until it’s over. But absent any bizarre and unexpected shifts of fate (or politics) equality in the State of Washington is just a matter of days away.
Washington Catholic Bishops demean gay parents
January 16th, 2012
Arrogance can be blinding. And the arrogance that the Roman Catholic Bishops hold in their perception of their role in society often leads them to make statements that only make sense to those who share their presumptions, prejudices and undying belief that the Catholic Church dictates what is real simply by declaring it so.
And in their blinding arrogance, Bishops in the State of Washington have released a letter that is so disdainful of gay parents, adoptive parents, and those who require help with fertility that I believe it will only serve to further illustrate how ignorant and out-of-touch the Catholic Church has become. Perhaps staying within the realm of religious doctrine their words could be given some respect, but posed as declarations about objective reality and public policy, their advice on the proposed marriage bill is laughable … and disgusting.
Married couples who bring children into the world make particular sacrifices and take on unique risks and obligations for the good of society. For this reason the state has long understood that it has a compelling interest in recognizing and supporting these mothers and fathers through a distinct category of laws. Were the definition of marriage to change, there would be no special laws to support and recognize the irreplaceable contribution that these married couples make to society and to the common good by bringing to life the next generation.
Upholding the present definition of marriage does not depend on anyone’s religious beliefs. Washington State’s present law defining marriage as “a civil contract between a male and a female” is grounded not in faith, but in reason and the experience of society. It recognizes the value of marriage as a bond of personal relationships, but also in terms of the unique and irreplaceable potential of a man and woman to conceive and nurture new life, thus contributing to the continuation of the human race. A change in legislation would mean that the state would no longer recognize the unique sacrifices and contributions made by these couples, thereby adding to the forces already undermining family life today.
You see, heterosexuals make “sacrifices and contributions” that are “unique and irreplaceable”. The rest of you are just slackers.
Those same-sex couples who adopt kids who are past the preferred adoption age – slackers. Those same-sex couples who adopt kids who are born addicted to heroin – slackers. Those same-sex couples who adopt kids who are mixed-race and hard to place – slackers. Those same-sex couples who adopt kids who are infected with HIV or have other special needs – slackers. These same-sex couples who carefully plan to have a family and wait until they can afford to do so without being a burden to anyone else – slackers. Those same-sex couples who step in when heterosexuals abuse and rape and torture their own offspring and who give endless hours of love and attention – there’s no sacrifice or contribution to society there. Nope, just slackers.
And you can ask anyone in adoption services – anyone in child protection – anyone in foster care administration who they turn to when no one else is willing to take a kid. It isn’t the Catholic Church; they care so little for children that they’d close adoption services rather than be seen treating their gay neighbors like themselves. And it’s not just a meme or a stereotype or PR, it’s a simple fact – gay couples take the kids that no one else will take. The damn slackers.
But when little Mary Catherine McPlaidskirt and Michael Joseph Illpullout have their backseat tryst and then rush into a Holy Union before they pop out the 6,988,281,769th human – and immediately get on public assistance – they are making “particular sacrifices” and taking on “unique risks and obligations for the good of society”.
Fortunately, this is not only offensive to gay couples, it’s offensive to those who have friends who are gay or infertile or adopted or who have ever been in a position where they were unable to provide for a child and took the responsible step of seeking a better home. Frankly, it’s insulting to anyone with even a modicum of mental capability.
Keep it up, Catholic Church. You may just reach the place where your opposition is so absurd and spiteful that it is all that is needed to ensure success.
Republican support for marriage grows in Washington State
January 15th, 2012
Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat notes a Republican county official who is taking a risk by supporting equality.
Reagan Dunn on Monday also said he supports allowing gays and lesbians to marry.
Dunn is a King County Council member. His blood bleeds so Republican his mother named him after Ronald Reagan. And he’s running statewide this year, to be attorney general — which means he is this state’s highest-profile Republican, by far, to come out for gay marriage.
It also means he’s out stumping for GOP money and votes not just in liberal King County, but in the reddest of red counties. Not to mention trying to rally the party’s base of social and church conservatives to his cause.
Westneat notes that there are now five elected Republicans who have in the past week come publicly on board. Let’s hope it’s a trend
Equality in WA picks up 23rd supporting Senator
January 13th, 2012
Yesterday we reported that Democratic Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe of Bothell was undeclared on whether to support the proposed marriage bill. She has now read the bill, discussed the matter with her constituents, and KEPRTV is reporting that she has pledged her support to its passage: “Now is the time to support marriage for all families.”
Two more to go.
Washington: AP’s vote count shows hope for Senate
January 12th, 2012
The State of Washington will be introducing an equality bill next week which will treat gay citizens who wish to marry the same as heterosexual citizens who wish to marry. The vote is expected to pass the House will little trouble, but the vote in the Senate is close. However the Associated Press reached out to the Senate members to get a feeling of where the votes lie. There are 49 Senators, so in order for the bill to pass, the support of 25 is required.
Here is what they found:
22 yes, including 20 Democrats and 2 Republicans. In addition to the previously mentioned Sen. Steve Litzow, Republican Sen. Cheryl Pflug indicated her support.
“I don’t feel diminished when another human being is allowed to exercise the same rights that I enjoy. I would feel diminished if I voted to deny others the right to exercise those same rights and freedoms.”
18 no, including 2 Democrats and 16 Republicans. Among the Republicans is Sen. Curtis King of Yakima who supported the domestic partnerships bill but does not feel ready to support full equality.
6 uncommitted, including 4 Democrats and 2 Republicans. Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe (D – Bothell) is leaning in favor of support and Democrats Brian Hatfield of Raymond, Jim Kastama of Puyallup and Paull Shin of Edmonds have previously voted against expanding rights but are now considering supporting the equality bill. Freshmen Republicans Sens. Joe Fain of Auburn and Andy Hill of Redmond are talking with their constituents before they make a determination either way.
Which leaves 3 about which the AP doesn’t provide information.
If supporters of equality can pick up three of the nine uncertain votes, then marriage equality is assured in the legislature.
Almost certainly opponents would begin collecting signatures to bring that vote to a referendum of the electorate. Anti-gay activists in 2009 found it very difficult to collect enough signatures to Ref. 71 on the ballot. As this is marriage rather than domestic partnerships it might be easier to collect signatures. But, on the other hand, anti-gay activists in Washington may be discouraged and find few willing to commit the time and energy into a project that they fear will only lose and start a trend towards voter-approved equality.
This promises to live up to Washington’s reputation for nail-biting situations.