As the effort to place a gay-inclusive domestic partnership up for a vote in Washington State ticks down its final hours, supporters of Referendum 71 are making a final push to pull out a victory.

But whether they can come from behind remains dubious.

Officials behind the campaign said in a statement Friday, the final day of signature collecting, that they will have the minimum 120,577 petition signatures needed to qualify for the ballot. Proponents – a coalition of mostly religious groups – admitted they have failed to collect the additional 30,000 signatures needed to guard against errors, including instances of unregistered or unqualified voters.

The deadline to turn in the petitions is Saturday at 2PM. Gay Randall, president of the Faith and Freedom network, said he was asking supporters to gather additional signatures and drive them to the state Capitol.

“We think there's a good chance that we will qualify,” Randall told the Seattle Times Friday.

The Democratic-controlled House passed the bill dubbed the “everything but marriage” bill by the media in April along a mostly party-line vote of 62 to 35. Senators approved the bill in March with a 30 to 18 vote, and Governor Chris Gregoire signed the bill into law on May 18.

The law, sponsored by openly gay Seattle Democrats Senator Ed Murray and Rep. Jamie Pedersen, expands existing domestic partnership legislation to grant gay and lesbian couples all the rights and benefits that the state offers married heterosexual couples. The federal government, however, does not recognize gay unions or marriages.

Washington State banned gay marriage in 1998 and the Washington State Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the law in 2006.

If the measure qualifies for the ballot, the law would be delayed until after the results of the November election are known. The law is set to take effect on Sunday.

Meanwhile, gay rights groups say the referendum threat has accelerated the growth of pro-gay marriage groups in Washington State. And the group announced it would publish the names of signers to the petition on the Internet should it qualify. (Similar postings have proven controversial in other states, including California, Arkansas and Massachusetts).