On February 13 Washington Governor Chris Gregoire (left) affixed her signature to a law making her state the seventh to legalize homosexual marriage, even as pro-family forces were preparing a referendum that will challenge the measure and give voters the final say on how marriage is defined in the state.
As Gregoire signed the law, which is scheduled to take effect June 7, she declared it “a day historians will mark as a milestone for equal rights, a day when we did what was right, we did what was just, and we did what was fair.”
But on the same day, reported the Associated Press, leaders of the pro-family coalition Preserve Marriage Washington were busy filing Referendum 73 to put the law before the voters for what they hope will be a repeal. According to the Seattle Post Intelligencer, they have until June 6 to gather 120,577 signatures to put the referendum on the ballot in November, effectively blocking homosexual couples from getting married until the outcome of the state-wide vote.
Among the leaders in the fight to preserve marriage in Washington is Joseph Backholm, head of the state’s Family Policy Institute, who said his group is working to give voters the final say on the issue. “Marriage is the union of one man and one woman for good reason,” Backholm said following passage of the homosexual marriage bill. “Marriage is society’s way of bringing men and women together so that children can be raised by, and cared for by, their mother and father — the people responsible for bringing them into the world. It is the most-important, child-focused institution of society and we will fight to preserve it. Voters will have the opportunity to define marriage in our state.”
Among the state and national groups that are combining forces to get the referendum on the ballot are the Family Policy Institute, Stand for Marriage Washington, Concerned Women for America, and the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). In addition, organizers said they expect hundreds of churches and individuals to pitch in to gather the needed signatures.