WA's gay marriage law on hold; opponents submit signatures for referendum

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by Associated Press, KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on June 6, 2012 at 6:40 AM

Updated Friday, Jun 8 at 8:52 AM

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Washington's gay marriage law is now on hold.
  
Preserve Marriage Washington submitted more than 200,000 signatures Wednesday, blocking the law from taking effect on Thursday. State officials will review the filings over the next week to determine whether the proposed referendum will qualify for a public vote.

The referendum seeks to overturn the measure allowing same-sex marriage in the state that was passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire earlier this year.

Backers of R-74 needed to have 120,577 valid voter signatures by Wednesday to qualify for the ballot.

The secretary of state’s office recommends that campaigns submit about 150,000 signatures in order to provide a cushion for invalid or duplicate signatures.

Gay marriage supporters, expecting that the referendum would qualify, have already been raising money to protect the law. Zach Silk, campaign manager for Washington United for Marriage, expects both sides to raise millions of dollars.

"It's fair to say it's going to be an extremely expensive race," Silk said.

A poll by Seattle consulting firm Strategies 360 showed that 54 percent of voters in the state think it should be legal for same-sex couples to get married, though the poll didn't specifically ask them how they would vote on a referendum.

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