Washington Referendum 74

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Referendum Measure No. 74
Concerns marriage for same-sex couples
Results
Yes or no Votes Percentage
Yes check.svg Yes 1,659,915 53.7%
X mark.svg No 1,431,285 46.3%
Valid votes 3,091,200 97.42%
Invalid or blank votes 81,730 2.58%
Total votes 3,172,930 100.00%
Voter turnout 81.25%
Electorate 3,905,140
Results by County
Washington r-74.svg
  Approve—70-80%
  Approve—60-70%
  Approve—50-60%
  Reject—50-60%
  Reject—60-70%
  Reject—70-80%
Source: General Election Results - Wash. Secretary of State

Referendum 74 (R-74 or Ref 74) was a Washington state referendum to approve or reject the February 2012 bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state.[1] On June 12, 2012, state officials announced that enough signatures in favor of the referendum had been submitted and scheduled the referendum to appear on the ballot in the November 6 general election.[2] The law was upheld by voters in the November 6, 2012 election by a final margin of 7.4% (53.7% approve, 46.3 reject) and the result was certified on December 5.[3]

Ballot measure[edit]

The ballot title read as follows:[4]

The legislature passed Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6239 concerning marriage for same-sex couples, modified domestic-partnership law, and religious freedom, and voters have filed a sufficient referendum petition on this bill.
 
This bill would allow same-sex couples to marry, preserve domestic partnerships only for seniors, and preserve the right of clergy or religious organizations to refuse to perform, recognize, or accommodate any marriage ceremony.
 
Should this bill be:
 
Approved [ ]
 
Rejected [ ]

The ballot measure was accompanied by the following summary:

This bill allows same-sex couples to marry, applies marriage laws without regard to gender, and specifies that laws using gender-specific terms like husband and wife include same-sex spouses. After 2014, existing domestic partnerships are converted to marriages, except for seniors. It preserves the right of clergy or religious organizations to refuse to perform or recognize any marriage or accommodate wedding ceremonies. The bill does not affect licensing of religious organizations providing adoption, foster-care, or child-placement.

History[edit]

Title 26 of the Revised Code of Washington, entitled "domestic relations", governs marriage in Washington state.[5] A 2012 bill, Senate Bill 6239, would legalize same-sex marriage and convert into a marriage on June 30, 2014, any undissolved state registered domestic partnership that does not involve at least one party aged 62 years or older.[6][7] It also would add language at Section 26.04.010 exempting religious organizations from any requirement to "provide accommodations, facilities, advantages, privileges, services, or goods related to the solemnization or celebration of a marriage".[8] Governor Christine Gregoire signed the engrossed bill on February 13.[9] The bill was scheduled to take effect June 7 – 90 days after the end of the legislative session — but opponents submitted on June 6 the necessary signatures to suspend the bill and require a statewide voter referendum.[10][11][12] On June 12, the Washington secretary of state announced that enough signatures had been submitted to place the referendum on the ballot for the November general election.[2][13]

Support and opposition[edit]

Statements for and against the bill are available online as part of the official online voter's guide for the referendum.[14] Per Section 42.17A on "campaign disclosure and contribution", the Washington state Public Disclosure Commission posted campaign information online, including information for referenda and initiatives, showing seven groups registered for approval of the bill and one against.[15] Of these, Washington United for Marriage (WUM) and Preserve Marriage Washington were the most active, for and against the bill respectively.

WUM lists "a coalition of more than 500 organizations and businesses" on its website.[16] Amazon's Jeff Bezos and his wife pledged $2.5 million in support of the same-sex marriage law.[17] Steve Ballmer of Microsoft and co-founder Bill Gates each donated $100,000 to the campaign in support as well. Starbucks, Nike, Inc., REI, Alcoa, Expedia, Inc., T-Mobile, Nordstrom, the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, and dozens of other businesses also supported the bill.[18][19][20] United States President Barack Obama encouraged support as well.[21]

Opposition to the bill was coordinated largely by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle, which encouraged support for rejecting the bill among all parishes.[22] Parishes planned "in-pew donations as part of what it is calling Preserve Marriage month" and NOM was expected to bring in additional money from outside the state.[23][24]

Several newspapers in Washington state supported the bill, with the Seattle Times also launching an interactive social media campaign to encourage readers to support the bill publicly.[25] Other endorsements included the Tacoma News-Tribune,[26] Spokane's The Spokesman-Review,[27] Vancouver's The Columbian,[28] Yakima Herald-Republic,[29] Tri-City Herald,[30] Everett's The Herald,[31] The Olympian,[32] The Wenatchee World,[33] and the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin.[34]

Campaign fundraising[edit]

Referendum 74 generated a large number of individual donations which may have surpassed the 2008 record of 13,500 for the Washington Death with Dignity Act.[24] As of July 3, 2012, Referendum 74 sponsor Preserve Marriage Washington (seeking "rejection" votes) had reportedly raised $132,000, while Washington United for Marriage (seeking "approval" votes) raised $1.9 million.[35] As of August, campaign-financing proponents[who?] showed a 13-to-1 fundraising advantage for marriage equality, but a National Organization for Marriage campaign director was confident that $4 million would appear as needed.[36] A Public Disclosure Commission complaint has been filed, accusing both Preserve Marriage Washington and the National Organization for Marriage of having failed to report donations as required by law.[37] As of October 5, 2012, proponents of Referendum 74 Washington United for Marriage have raised $9.4 million in donations and opponents Preserve Marriage Washington have raised about $1 million.[38]

Opinion polls[edit]

Various public opinion surveys of Washington residents asked questions regarding same-sex marriage. The questions vary, with some surveys referring directly to Referendum 74 and others asking more general questions. A post-election poll indicated much stronger support for such marriage among women than men across several categories.[39]

Date of opinion poll Conducted by Sample size For Against Undecided Margin of error[40] Question
October 10–30, 2011[41] University of Washington Center for Survey Research 938 55% 38% 7% ±3.2% "Next year, the legislature could pass a law allowing gay and lesbian couples to get married. If that happens, there could be a referendum in which voters would beasked to approve or reject the law. If such a referendum were held today: Would you vote YES – that is, to keep a law in place allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry OR would you vote NO, against the law – to make it so that gay and lesbian couples could not marry?"
January 12–16, 2012[42][43] SurveyUSA 617 47% 46% 7% ±4.0% "If the legislature were to approve marriage for same-sex couples, and you were asked to approve or reject the law, how would you vote?"
February 7–9, 2012[44][45] Elway Research 405 51% 45% 4% ±5.0% "Should gay and lesbian couples have the same legal right to marry as straight couples?"
February 13–15, 2012[46] SurveyUSA 572 50% 45% 5% ±4.2% "A new law will allow same-sex couples to marry in Washington state. If you were asked to approve or reject the law, how would you vote?"
February 16–19, 2012[47] Public Policy Polling 1,264 50% 46% 4% ±2.76% "If there was a referendum on the new law legalizing same-sex marriage, would you vote to uphold the law, or would you vote to repeal it?"
May 22–24, 2012[48] Strategies 360 500 54% 33% 12% ±4.4% "Do you think it should be legal or illegal for gay and lesbian couples to get married?"
May 29–30, 2012[49] SurveyUSA 661 40% 37% 23% ±3.9% "The state legislature has passed a bill to allow same-sex couples to marry, while allowing clergy and religious organizations to refuse to perform, recognize or accommodate any marriage ceremony. The issue may appear on the ballot in November as Measure 74, asking voters to approve or reject the bill. If Measure 74 is on the ballot, will you vote to approve the bill? Vote to reject the bill? Or are you not yet sure how you will vote?"
June 14–17, 2012[50] Public Policy Polling 1,073 51% 42% 7% ±3.0% "Do you think same-sex marriage should be legal or illegal?"
July 16–17, 2012[51] SurveyUSA 630 50% 43% 7% ±4.0% "A new law passed by the legislature would allow same-sex couples to marry in Washington state. Should this law be approved? Or rejected?"
September 7–9, 2012[52] SurveyUSA 524 56% 38% 6% ±4.3% "A new law passed by the legislature would allow same-sex couples to marry in Washington state. Should this law be approved? Or rejected?"
September 9–12, 2012[53] Elway Poll 405 51% 37% 12% ±5% "The legislature passed Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6239 concerning marriage for same-sex couples, modified domestic-partnership law, and religious freedom, and voters have filed a sufficient referendum petition on this bill. This bill would allow same-sex couples to marry, preserve domestic partnerships only for seniors, and preserve the right of clergy or religious organizations to refuse to perform, recognize, or accommodate any marriage ceremony. Should this bill be: Approved...Rejected."
September 28–30, 2012[54] Survey USA 540 55% 40% 6% ±4.3% "A new law passed by the legislature would allow same-sex couples to marry in Washington state. Should this law be approved? Or rejected?"
October 1–16, 2012[55] University of Washington Center for Survey Research 644 54.1% 38.4% 5.7% ±3.9% "Statewide ballot referendum seventy-four (74) concerns marriage for same-sex couples. This referendum would allow same-sex couples to marry, preserve domestic partnerships only for seniors, and preserve the right of clergy or religious organizations to refuse to perform, recognize, or accommodate any marriage ceremony."
October 12–14, 2012[56] Survey USA 543 54% 41% 5% ±4.3% "A new law passed by the legislature would allow same-sex couples to marry in Washington state. Should this law be approved? Or rejected?"
October 17–20, 2012[57] Strategies360 500 55% 38% 8% ±4.4% "Here is the next one. This initiative is called Referendum 74. The legislature passed a bill concerning marriage for same-sex couples, modified domestic-partnership law, and religious freedom, and voters have filed a referendum on this bill. This bill would allow same-sex couples to marry, preserve domestic partnerships only for seniors, and preserve the right of clergy or religious organizations to refuse to perform, recognize, or accommodate any marriage ceremony. Should this bill be approved or rejected?"
October 18–21, 2012[58] Elway Poll 451 49% 45% 6% ±4.5% "The legislature passed Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6239 concerning marriage for same-sex couples, modified domestic-partnership law, and religious freedom, and voters have filed a sufficient referendum petition on this bill. This bill would allow same-sex couples to marry, preserve domestic partnerships only for seniors, and preserve the right of clergy or religious organizations to refuse to perform, recognize, or accommodate any marriage ceremony. Should this bill be: Approved...Rejected."
October 18–31, 2012[59] University of Washington Center for Survey Research 632 57.9% 36.9% 5.7% ±3.9% "Statewide ballot referendum seventy-four (74) concerns marriage for same-sex couples. This referendum would allow same-sex couples to marry, preserve domestic partnerships only for seniors, and preserve the right of clergy or religious organizations to refuse to perform, recognize, or accommodate any marriage ceremony."
October 28–31, 2012[60] Survey USA 555 52% 43% 5% ±4.2% "A new law passed by the legislature would allow same-sex couples to marry in Washington state. Should this law be approved? Or rejected?"
November 1–3, 2012[61] Public Policy Polling 932 52% 42% 6% ±3.2% "Referendum Measure No. 74 deals with Senate Bill 6239, which would allow same-sex couples to marry, preserve domestic partnerships only for seniors, and preserve the right of clergy or religious organizations to refuse to perform, recognize, or accommodate any marriage ceremony. Do you think this bill should be approved or rejected?"

Results[edit]

Recently married couples leaving Seattle City Hall are greeted by well-wishers on the first day of same-sex marriage in Washington state.

County breakdown[edit]

Upon certification, Secretary of State Sam Reed partially credited the referendum for encouraging voter turnout of 81%, the highest in the nation.[62] County offices in King and Thurston counties opened at 12:01 a.m. after the measure was certified, with celebrations in support outside of several government offices,[63] with various same-sex weddings scheduled, free of charge, beginning just after midnight on December 9, just after the mandatory three-day waiting period applying to all Washington weddings.[64][65]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Proposed Referendum Measures—2012". Washington State Secretary of State. February 13, 2012. Retrieved March 10, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Anti-gay-marriage measure qualifies for Wash. state ballot". USA Today. June 12, 2012. Retrieved July 2, 2012. 
  3. ^ Official Press Release (December 5, 2012). "Gov. Gregoire and Secretary Reed certify Referendum 74". Governor of Washington. Retrieved December 10, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Proposed Referendum Measures 2012". Washington State Secretary of State. March 13, 2012. Retrieved March 13, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Title 26 RCW: Domestic relations". Revised Code of Washington. Washington State Legislature. February 13, 2012. Retrieved August 26, 2012. 
  6. ^ Section 10 of Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6239, Washington State Legislature
  7. ^ Senators Murray, Pflug, Hobbs, Litzow, Kohl-Welles, Ranker, Tom, Harper, Pridemore, Keiser, Kline, Regala, Eide, Rolfes, McAuliffe, Brown, Nelson, Chase, Fraser, Frockt, Conway, Kilmer, and Prentice; by request of Governor Gregoire (January 16, 2012). "Senate Bill 6239" (PDF). State of Washington 62nd Legislature 2012 Regular Session. Retrieved August 26, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Marriage contract — Void marriages — Construction of gender specific terms — Recognition of solemnization of marriage not required. (Effective if Referendum 74 is approved at the November 2012 general election.)". RCW 26.04 Marriage. Washington State Legislature. February 13, 2012. Retrieved August 26, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Gregoire signs gay marriage into law". February 13, 2012. Retrieved February 13, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Washington state House approves same-sex marriage". Seattle Post Intelligencer. February 8, 2012. Retrieved February 9, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Washington State Senate approves same-sex marriage". MSNBC. February 1, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Washington Gay Marriage Law Blocked As Opponents Submit Signatures For Referendum", Huffington Post, reported by Mike Baker, Associated Press, June 6, 2012
  13. ^ "Gay marriage referendum 74 makes Washington ballot", OregonLive, reported by the Associated Press, June 12, 2012
  14. ^ "Online Voter's Guide". Washington State Secretary of State. 2012. Retrieved September 10, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Continuing Political Committees". Public Disclosure Commission. 2012. Retrieved August 22, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Coalition Partners". Washington United for Marriage. 2012. Retrieved August 22, 2012. 
  17. ^ Michael D. Shear (July 27, 2012). "Amazon’s Founder Pledges $2.5 Million in Support of Same-Sex Marriage". New York Times. Retrieved July 27, 2012. 
  18. ^ Rachel La Corte (July 2, 2012). "APNewsBreak: Ballmer, Gates support gay marriage". The Seattle Times. AP. Retrieved July 3, 2012. 
  19. ^ Lornet Turnbull (August 13, 2012). "REI endorses same-sex marriage in Washington state". The Seattle Times. Retrieved August 14, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Businesses for Washington United for Marriage". Retrieved August 14, 2012. 
  21. ^ Brunner, Jim (October 25, 2012). "Obama endorses yes vote on gay marriage in Washington state". Politics Northwest Blog. Seattle Times. Retrieved October 25, 2012. 
  22. ^ Janet I. Tu and Jayme Fraser (August 4, 2012). "Low-profile Seattle archbishop not afraid of controversies". The Seattle Times. Retrieved August 22, 2012. 
  23. ^ Turnbull, Lornett (August 20, 2012). "Gay-marriage campaigns on verge of unleashing their ads". The Seattle Times. Retrieved August 22, 2012. 
  24. ^ a b Westneat, Danny (August 21, 2012). "Out-of-state money chooses what we vote on". The Seattle Times. Retrieved August 24, 2012. 
  25. ^ Editorial board (September 14, 2012). "Ref. 74: Join our 'I do' social media campaign to support same-sex marriage". Seattle Times. Retrieved September 16, 2012. 
  26. ^ Editorial Board (September 17, 2012). "R-74: Yes vote on marriage equality is right for Washington". Editorial. The News-Tribune. Retrieved September 18, 2012. 
  27. ^ Editorial Board (September 16, 2012). "Affirm R-74 because state has no role in personal choice". Editorial. The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved September 16, 2012. 
  28. ^ Editorial Board (September 16, 2012). "Referendum 74 Endorsed". In Our View. The Columbian. Retrieved September 16, 2012. 
  29. ^ Yakima Herald-Republic Editorial Board (October 23, 2012). "All couples deserve the right to wed, approve R-74". Yakima Herald-Republic. Retrieved October 23, 2012. 
  30. ^ Editorial Board (October 14, 2012). "Same-sex marriage: Yes". Tri-City Herald. Retrieved October 14, 2012. 
  31. ^ Editorial Board (October 3, 2012). "Vote for marriage equality". Herald Endorsement. The Herald (Everett). Retrieved October 3, 2012. 
  32. ^ Editorial Board (September 21, 2012). "A vote for R-74 is a vote for marriage equality and basic rights". The Olympian. Retrieved September 21, 2012. 
  33. ^ Wenatchee World Editorial Board (October 6, 2012). "R-74 affirms our changing norms". The Wenatchee World. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  34. ^ Editorial Board (September 13, 2012). "Voters should affirm gay marriage law". Editorial. Walla Walla Union-Bulletin. Retrieved September 18, 2012. 
  35. ^ "Washington state anti-gay marriage initiative fails". Reuters. July 3, 2012. Retrieved July 6, 2012. 
  36. ^ Turnbull, Lornett (August 20, 2012). "Gay-marriage campaigns on verge of unleashing their ads". The Seattle Times. Retrieved August 22, 2012. 
  37. ^ "PDC complaint filed against R-74 backers". Associated Press report. The Seattle Times. August 16, 2012. Retrieved August 22, 2012. 
  38. ^ "PDC Ballot Measure Map". October 5, 2012. Retrieved October 5, 2012. 
  39. ^ Mapes, Jeff (December 13, 2012). "Women powered gay marriage initiative to victory in Washington, poll shows". The Oregonian. Retrieved December 17, 2012. 
  40. ^ This margin of error is based on a 95 percent confidence interval.
  41. ^ 2011 Washington Poll A Closer Look at Attitudes Towards Same-Sex Marriage
  42. ^ Washington State Political Landscape 01/16/12
  43. ^ "KING 5 poll: State divided over gay marriage". KING5 News. January 19, 2012. Retrieved June 26, 2012. 
  44. ^ Washington ballot best chance for foes of same-sex marriage
  45. ^ Recent Elway Poll: 60% Want Marriage to Remain As It Is
  46. ^ 9 Mos to Election Day in WA State: Obama Net Approval Minus 5; Voters Split on Same-Sex Marriage
  47. ^ Washington Governor’s Race a Dead Heat; Voters Support Gay Marriage, Relaxing Marijuana Laws
  48. ^ "A Survey of Likely Voters in Washington State". Strategies 360. May 30, 2012. Retrieved June 7, 2012. 
  49. ^ In Newly Drawn WA01, Koster & Burner Likely to Advance from Primary to General, Where Republican May Have Slight Early Advantage
  50. ^ "McKenna takes lead in Wa. gubernatorial race". Public Policy Polling. June 19, 2012. Retrieved June 20, 2012. 
  51. ^ WA State Governor: McKenna (R) 42%, Inslee (D) 41%. WA State Attorney General: Dunn (R) 37%, Ferguson (D) 37%
  52. ^ Washington State, 8 weeks till votes are counted, Democrat Inslee Tip-Toes 5 Points In Front of Republican McKenna in Tight Governor Fight
  53. ^ 3 of 4 Ballot Measures at 50–51%
  54. ^ KING 5 poll: Majorities in Washington favor gay marriage, marijuana initiatives
  55. ^ KCTS 9 Washington Poll
  56. ^ KING 5 poll: Initiatives still ahead; AG race now a toss-up
  57. ^ Strategies360
  58. ^ McKenna Takes Lead Among Likely Voters
  59. ^ KCTS 9 Washington Poll
  60. ^ KING 5 Poll: Governor's race a dead heat with 5 days to go
  61. ^ WA-Gov close, Obama, gay marriage, and marijuana lead
  62. ^ Reed, Sam (December 5, 2012). "Gregoire & Reed certify 2012 election, including marriage & marijuana laws". News Release. Washington State Secretary of State. Retrieved December 7, 2012. 
  63. ^ Mapes, Jeff (December 6, 2012). "Same-sex marriages begin in Washington state". The Oregonian, p A1. The Oregonian. Retrieved December 7, 2012. 
  64. ^ "Same-sex weddings". The Columbian. December 6, 2012. Retrieved December 7, 2012. 
  65. ^ Ho, Vanessa (November 7, 2012). "Dec. 6: Gay marriage's history-making day". Seattlepi.com. 

External links[edit]