The battle to preserve the new "everything but marriage" domestic partnerships in Washington has been won. Washington voters have made history by approving Referendum 71, reports the Seattle Times.
The tally Thursday afternoon saw the vote to approve R-71 widening its lead 52.5 percent to 47.5 percent. That lead now appears insurmountable. The Secretary of State's Office estimates another 500,000 to 600,000 ballots statewide are still outstanding, with about half expected from King County, where the measure is being approved by slightly more than 2 to 1. "Voters across the state listened to the personal stories of lesbian and gay families and the challenges they faced and sent a strong message that we want to see all families treated equally under the law in our state," said Anne Levinson, chairwoman of Washington Families Standing Together, which worked for the measure's approval.
Lurleen at Pam's House Blend offers some historical context: "Almost every Washington county shows an increase in pro-equality voting. The last time Washington voters had the opportunity to ratify a pro-equality law at the polls was in 1997. Initiative 677 proposed an employment non-discrimination law. The measure was rejected 59.7% to 40.3%. Contrary to the current image of the Puget Sound area of Washington as progressive, not one single county - not even Seattle's home of King County - voted to approve I-677. Contrast that with the current election where the electorate as a whole approved R-71 and majorities in 10 of Washington's 39 counties have approved R-71."
Gay activists are rightly disappointed by the loss in Maine but let's not dismiss the important victory in Washington. Congratulations to the people of Washington and Washington Families Standing Together for an excellent campaign.