The Washington secretary of state's office says that approximately 1,000 of the nearly 250,000 signatures submitted to qualify a referendum on gay marriage in Washington state appear to be fraudulent.

A spokesman says the signatures did not match the names of legitimate registered voters on file.

The signatures being questioned were on sheets circulated by the same individual, apparently a paid signature solicitor.

The secretary of state's office says the state Elections Division has asked the State Patrol to investigate the possible fraud.

If voters approve Referendum 74, it would uphold the law passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire.

The law would allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a marriage license in Washington. However, religious organizations would not be required to perform marriage ceremonies.

Voting no on R-74 would mean a voter wants the law overturned.

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