Washington state will be among other states on tomorrow’s ballot concerning domestic partnership rights.
Referendum 71, or what some lawmakers refer to as “everything but marriage,” is an expanded issue on the domestic partnership law passed by legislation in 2007. The law was to take effect July 26 in Washington, but now only if it is passed tomorrow.
The expanded law would grant registered domestic partners additional state-granted rights, now only given to married couples. This also includes a right to sick-leave care for domestic partners, rights concerning adoption and child custody and support.
More than $2.1 million has been spent toward the three-year process campaign, mainly with donations from supporters of the domestic partnership law. Microsoft provided the largest amount this fall with $100,000 put toward the effort.
Opponents of the expanded law say the referendum is a vote for same-sex marriage.
“It enshrines into law something we don’t think should be there,” Gary Randall, member of Protect Marriage Washington, told The Seattle Times. “It is a bridge to gay marriage.” Randall has been a large influence against Referendum 71, pushing for its vote on tomorrow’s ballot.
However, recent polling reveals more support for the law than those against. A poll in September revealed 46 to 41 lead of approval, and a poll taken this past week through the University of Washington shows a 56 to 39 lead.
Anne Levinson, chairwoman of Washington Families Standing Together, told The Seattle Times those opposed to Referendum 71 are “asking people to take away the basic safety net that families need when there’s a crisis because these social conservatives think it might somehow lead to marriage.”
The domestic partnership law and previously enacted legislation will remain if the expanded law does not pass.
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