In Washington state, anti-gay forces begin work to get marriage repeal on the ballot

As expected, the anti-gay forces in Washington are beginning the process to put the new marriage law on the ballot:

Opponents have already taken the first step towards bringing the issue to the ballot.

“I think it’s great. Happy Valentine’s Day. They should have the same rights as everybody else,” said Yamuna Benedict.
Not everyone feels the same about gay marriage in Washington. Surrounded by emotional lawmakers, Washington’s Governor Chris Gregoire signed the bill into law, Monday.

Within hours of the signing, opponents filed the paperwork needed to collect signatures for a referendum to overturn the law.

Referendum 74 would be a yes or no on gay marriage question if it gets to the ballot.

Our side will take the Approve R-74. The campaign is called Washington United for Marriage. They’re prepared to run a very aggressive and sophisticated campaign. Remember, Washington State approved the “anything but marriage” measure back in 2009. These folks know how to win. But, it’s going to be a tough campaign and the haters are going to have resources. Dominic Holden at The SLOG reported that NOM and its allies are committed to spending big bucks:

At the side of Evangelical pastors and activists was National Organization for Marriage’s Christopher Plante, who had just flown in from Rhode Island, with a vow that marriage opponents would spend a combined $2 million to $6 million.

Okay. Game on.

One more thing: Andrew Harmon interviewed Governor Gregoire. I really liked her answers on religion. It was her Catholic faith that guided her:

Prior to your announcement on the bill last month, you spoke with Seattle archbishop J. Peter Sartain, who opposed the bill and asked Catholics in the state to lobby against it. Have you spoken with him since you signed it?

He called, I wasn’t here to take the call, my chief of staff did, and he expressed appreciation for the work that was done to protect and honor religious freedom in the state. I have had a very good and civil relationship with the archbishop here on this subject, so I’m very thankful and appreciative of him recognizing what we did in the bill, what I felt was important for that faith and any other faith that felt similarly, which is to respect their religious freedom.

Are you still seeking to speak with Gov. Christie in New Jersey on this issue as his state also weighs a marriage equality bill?

At the end of January, I wrote Gov. Christie a letter — I’ve gotten to know him through my work at the National Governors Association. And I shared with him the fact that I’d been a governor now for almost eight years, and I’ve dealt with this subject all eight years. And yes, I was struggling with the fact that I was both governor and Catholic. But I had reached a point where I felt good about where I had culminated my journey. I gave him a copy of the remarks [at the press conference introducing the bill], and I invited him to give me a call to talk it through. The Senate in New Jersey now has stood up on the issue, the Assembly will stand up soon. And then I’m going to reach out to them to see if he’d like to talk about it. I’d like him to consider whether he could share with the state of New Jersey a similar kind of pride that I saw yesterday.

Someone shouted out during the signing, “Do not betray Christ.” But it sounds to me that you see this law as a way of honoring your faith, not betraying it. As a Catholic, how have you come to terms with your faith and your support for marriage equality?

My faith is, to myself, my husband, and my two daughters, very important. And I really do believe that my faith is about the less fortunate, the minority, the immigrants, the poor. While I respect the doctrine of my faith and the sacrament of marriage, I believe I stand proudly with what is the fundamental underpinning of my faith, which is that I respect all people, and I will lift them up the best I can.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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