NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Big vote on marriage equality tomorrow

In a mat­ter of hours, Wash­ing­ton’s Sen­ate is set to take up Ed Mur­ray’s bill, SB 6239, to make mar­riage equal­i­ty the law of the land across the Ever­green State. At least twen­ty-five sen­a­tors (includ­ing some Repub­li­cans) have already com­mit­ted to vote in favor of the bill, so it is expect­ed to pass.

How­ev­er, if you are a Wash­ing­ton­ian, it is still a good idea to let your sen­a­tor know that you sup­port this impor­tant civ­il rights legislation.

Don’t know who your law­mak­ers are? Plug in your address and find out!

A com­pan­ion bill is advanc­ing in the House and is expect­ed to pass there as well; the House also has the option of sim­ply adopt­ing SB 6239, which would send the leg­is­la­tion to Gov­er­nor Chris Gre­goire’s desk. Gre­goire announced her sup­port of mar­riage equal­i­ty sev­er­al weeks ago and is pre­pared to sign the bill.

The right wing has promised to force a pub­lic vote on mar­riage equal­i­ty by launch­ing a ref­er­en­dum cam­paign once the bill has been signed. 120,557 valid sig­na­tures are required to qual­i­fy a ref­er­en­dum for the 2012 bal­lot, which means oppo­nents of mar­riage equal­i­ty will min­i­mal­ly need to gath­er some­where in the neigh­bor­hood of 170,000 sig­na­tures total (to off­set invalid or dupli­cate signatures).

If a ref­er­en­dum qual­i­fies for the bal­lot, the ear­li­est that mar­riage equal­i­ty could become the law of the land would be in Decem­ber 2012, fol­low­ing the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion results. (A law sub­ject to ref­er­en­dum does not go into effect; instead, it is placed on hold for the dura­tion of the election).

Read­ers should keep in mind that ref­er­en­da work dif­fer­ent­ly than ini­tia­tives. If the right wing forces a ref­er­en­dum on mar­riage equal­i­ty, those of us want­i­ng to keep the law will need to vote to “approve” the referendum.

(Yes, we know… it’s confusing).

Per­ma­nent Defense will be work­ing to track the right wing’s sig­na­ture dri­ve once a ref­er­en­dum cam­paign is launched. We’ll have more details on how you can help in the com­ing weeks.

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  1. […] a very unpop­u­lar …Wash­ing­ton State Sen­a­tor Con­fi­dent Mar­riage Equal­i­ty Will PassAdvocate.comBig vote on mar­riage equal­i­ty tomor­rowNorth­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute Offi­cial Blog (blog)In brief: Same-sex mar­riage gets House panel […]

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