OLYMPIA — The office of the Washington Secretary of State has given the go-ahead for a ballot referendum on the state’s same-sex marriage law signed earlier this year by Gov. Christine Gregoire, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
Opponents were to have gathered 120,577 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot, but turned in 247,331. Washington voters passed a referendum in 2009 upholding the state’s sweeping domestic partnership law, which grants all state-level rights to participating same-sex couples that opposite-couples achieve through marriage. Experts have attributed Washington’s mail-in only voting system to the increased voter turnout that helped the referendum pass.
Once Washington begins issuing the licenses, it would become the seventh state, along with D.C., to offer same-sex couples full marriage rights. Maryland also passed a marriage bill this year and is facing a ballot measure this fall on that law. The two states could potentially join the District of Columbia, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York and Connecticut in offering same-sex nuptials in the next seven months.