News (USA)

WA Domestic Partner law in jeopardy as R-71 petition surpasses 100K

Referendum 71Elections officials say they’ve now verified more than 100,000 signatures for Referendum 71, an attempt to overturn Washington’s new “everything but marriage” same-sex domestic partner law.

The totals as of Monday evening are: 103,898 checked, 91,716 accepted and 12,182 rejected. The overall error rate is 11.72 percent. In order to make the November statewide ballot, the referendum’s overall rejection rate must not go over 12.4 percent.

R-71 sponsors need 120,577 valid Washington voter signatures for the measure to go before voters. The secretary of state’s office hopes to finish the count by the end of this month.

Protect Marriage Washington, a consortium of religious conservatives, is the force behind R- 71, a measure to repeal a recently passed state law that would give registered domestic partners the same state-offered benefits married people now receive.

Washington gay-rights groups have threatened to publicly expose the signers of the Ref. 71 petition, prompting Protect Marriage Washington last week to ask the Public Disclosure Commission an emergency hearing because it said there had been violent threats against churches, property and supporters of the campaign.

A federal judge has granted a temporary restraining order to bar the release of signatures on R-71 petitions while they are still being counted. The PDC will hear arguments on August 27 as to why donors to the effort to repeal the law should remain secret.

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