Preserve Marriage Washington has raised a scant $43,459 (and claims to have spent most of it on the petition drive), but the big money for the campaign is likely to come from the group's partners: the National Organization for Marriage and Focus on the Family. The group claims to have collected 198,171 signatures. That appears to be enough to qualify Referendum 74 for the state ballot, which requires 120,577 valid signatures.
The Secretary of State's office expects to receive 15,000 petition sheets, which must first be scanned for archival purposes, before beginning a validation process. Election workers will begin checking a sample of signatures on Sunday and will have that sample completed by the middle of next week. If it shows enough valid signatures, the measure is qualified for the ballot. If the sample shows that there aren't enough valid signatures, workers will begin the protracted process of checking the signatures one by one.
This was the expected outcome. Anti-gay campaigners only needed to collect a small percentage of registered voters to qualify for the ballot. Paid signature gatherers can easily qualify measures for ballots.
Voters who wish to preserve the marriage bill that was passed earlier this year will have to vote to "Approve Referendum 74". Opponents to marriage equality will be asked to "Reject Referendum 74."
Supporters who wish to help Approve Referendum 74 can sign-up to volunteer with Washington United For Marriage, should contribute what they can to fight back against millions in outside money coming from our opponents, should connect with Washington United's Facebook page, and should reach out to your friends and family in Washington State to urge them to vote to Approve Referendum 74.
Currently marriage equality is polling at 54% in favor. In 2009, Referendum 71 passed with 53% of the vote, and preserved the Domestic Partnership "everything but marriage" law passed that year.
Washington State remains the only state that has ever expanded the rights of gays and lesbians at the ballot box.