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Opponents Block Washington State Gay Marriage

In America today, gay marriage is a very controversial subject. President Barack Obama declared his support for gay marriage earlier this year, though there are those who feel it may be a political move to garner votes this November. Whatever your stance on the issue, much is at stake in the November election. Preserve Marriage Washington was able to file more than 200,000 signatures on petitions to block Washington’s gay marriage from taking effect on Wednesday. The signatures were submitted just a day before Washington State was to begin to allow same-sex marriages. The issue should go before voters in November.

Joseph Backholm, the chair of Preserve Marriage Washington, said that the current definition of marriage works and has worked. Backholm also feels the same-sex marriage law will redefine marriage as it has been known for generations and thinks that it might lead to other types of marriage such as polygamy. He added that we need to think of the precedent we’re creating. Washington’s same-sex marriage law was passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Gregoire earlier this year, making Washington the seventh state to have legal same-sex marriages.

Both sides of the issue are promising both time and money to either fight or support same-sex marriage in the state. Zach Silk, campaign manager for Washington United for Marriage, expects both sides to spend millions of dollars and stated that it was fair to say it’s going to be an extremely expensive race. The State of Washington has had domestic partner laws since 2007. In 2009, the state passed an expansion of the domestic partners law, which was held up by voters after a referendum challenge.

State officials will need to review the signatures on the petitions over the next week to see if the proposed Referendum 74 will qualify for a public vote even though the numbers seem high enough. Officials from the secretary of state’s office recommends that referendum campaigns submit about 150,000 signatures in order to provide a cushion for invalid or duplicate signatures.