Protect Marriage Washington Nears the Deadline for Petition Signatures, Still With a lot of Work to Do

With only five days until the deadline for Protect Marriage Washington to turn in the 120,577 signatures needed to get Referendum 71 on the November ballot, it looks like they have a long way to go. If the organization obtains enough signatures, however, Referendum 71 would give voters the option of repealing Washington’s “everything but marriage” law, which gives domestic partners full marriage benefits without the title of “marriage.”

In a blog post last week, however, Gary Randall, the lead organizer of Protect Marriage Washington, noted that they would need roughly 150,000 signatures by the deadline, due to the fact that with any petition drive a substantial amount of signatures will be ineligible:

Organizers have until July 25 to turn 120,577 valid signatures in to the Secretary of State’s office. Lead organizer Gary Randall reports that more than 75,000 signatures have been received so far. “We think this is good news. However, it points out exactly how much work is left to do in just two weeks,” Randall announced on his “Faith & Freedom PAC” blog last week. “We need at least 150,000 signatures to ensure that we have the 120,577 necessary. There are always some signatures that are disqualified for various reasons.”

With so many signatures left to obtain, it is surprising that Randall didn’t pay closer attention to two polls that he commissioned. They actually show that voter support for gay marriage is on the rise in Washington:

The survey asks, “In your opinion, should homosexuals be allowed to legally marry?” Here is how the 405 Washington voters answered:

Yes — 43%
No — 50%
Didn’t know or no answer — 7%

Conducted by Elway Research, the poll shows an unmistakable trend of growing support for marriage equality. Another poll paid for by Faith and Freedom and conducted by Elway Research in 2005 found that only 35 percent of voters supported allowing gays and lesbians to marry (.pdf).

More important, however, is the fact that Protect Marriage Washington isn’t even fighting a marriage equality law―the law simply extended marriage benefits to those in domestic partnerships. That hasn’t stopped the group from falsely claiming that the law will give Washington same-sex couples the right to marry. Here’s an ad, now posted on their website, that ran in opposition to the law last year: