In September of 2004, a Superior Court in Washington state ruled the state's 1998 "Defense of Marriage" act unconstitutional
, a ruling which would have allowed the state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. In 2006, the state Supreme Court issued in an opinion in Andersen v. King County
overturning the lower court's ruling, noting "that our decision [pdf]
is not based on an independent
determination of what we believe the law should be." The legislature, in response, created the state-registered domestic partnership
in 2007, expanding many (but not all) marriage-related rights to same-sex couples. Last month, a new law expanded the partnership
to cover the remaining rights, creating an "all-but-marriage" partnership.
This year, the Washington Values Alliance has filed Referendum 71
, which would put this expansion to a ballot vote. The referendum will need 120,000 signatures to make it to the ballot. WhoSigned.org intends to make these signatures searchable
, this is creating some controversy
In the meantime, Referendum 71 doesn't seem to be finding much support
from likely allies. If it does make it to the ballot, voters hoping to maintain rights for same-sex couples should vote yes
to uphold the law as signed. Confused? The Secretary of State's office understands
Bonus Washington state ballot item: Initiative 957
(which never made it to the ballot) would have required couples to procreate within three years of marriage or face annulment.