On May 17th, Washington State Gov. Christine Gregoire signed into law a bill that would extend the scope of the state's domestic partnership law to include all of the rights and obligations of marriage, without calling those relationships marriage.
Naturally, the "Jesus is Love" folks launched the "Protect Marriage" petition campaign to put the issue to a vote, resulting in Referendum 71. The group turned in enough signatures on July 25th qualifying the measure for a November vote by a slim margin. The validity of a large portion of those signatures is the subject of a court challenge by LGBT-rights activists. The judge in the case rendered a ruling on Wednesday.
" Washington Families Standing Together's challenge to anti-LGBT Referendum 71 was rejected by a judge today.
"A King County Superior Court judge said Wednesday she had serious concerns that thousands of invalid signatures may have been accepted for Referendum 71, but rejected an attempt to block a public vote on expanded same-sex domestic partnership benefits in Washington state. Judge Julie Spector issued her ruling just as Secretary of State Sam Reed certified the measure for the November ballot in Olympia. Spector said challenges to a referendum must be filed in Thurston County Superior Court after certification - and supporters of the 'everything but marriage' law still had that option for trying to get R-71 off the ballot. The group that brought the original lawsuit - Washington Families Standing Together - said it would go to court in Thurston County to try to block R-71."
Judge Spector stated that WAFST was correct that unsigned/fraudulent petitions should be discarded, petition signers should be registered at the time of signing because not all were (36,000 signatures are in question, enough to disqualify Referendum 71), but the question of whether or not the Secretary of State has the right to knowingly accept such signatures was outside the judge's purview.
The answer to this question will be decided in Thurston County Court during the 5-day challenge window built-in after certification of a ballot in initiative."