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Referendum 71 Campaign Declares Victory in WA

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The Associated Press – and the sponsor of Washington State’s so-called “Everything but Marriage Bill” – have declared victory for Referendum 71. The approval of the referendum marks a significant expansion of rights for gay couples who are registered as domestic partners.

National gay-rights groups say the victory is the first time a state’s voters have approved a gay partnership equality measure at the ballot box.

Josh Friedes led the campaign to approve Referendum 71.

Friedes: “We’re just delighted that the people of Washington listened to the stories of gay and lesbian families, and voted to approve. It’s a wonderful feeling of affirmation, and I think it sends a very strong signal to the state capital that our legislators should continue doing the work that they’re doing to protect our families.

With about 69 percent of the expected vote counted Thursday in unofficial returns, the measure was leading 52 percent to 48 percent, but many of the uncounted votes were from Seattle’s King County – which approved the measure by a 2-to-1 margin.

Friedes says without huge turnout from urban centers, the measure would have lost – because, he says, its impossible to introduce rural areas to gay issues – with a political campaign.

Friedes: “I think that the answer is in part that it has to be a long-term social change education campaign, and I would personally say that you actually can’t do it in the context of a campaign”

Full-fledged gay marriage is still not allowed under Washington law. Friedes says polls showed that a measure to allow full marriage rights most likely would not have won.

 

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Written by OutQ News staff

November 6, 2009 at 8:20 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

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