The effort to force a public vote on a gay-inclusive domestic partnership law dubbed “everything but marriage” continues to walk a tightrope as signature counting reveals a high error rate in Washington State, the Seattle Post Intelligencer reported.

Opponents of the gay partner law turned in their petition on Saturday, July 25, delaying the start of the law until after the outcome of November's election is known, if the petition qualifies, or at least until officials finish their counting.

The secretary of state's office said Wednesday it was done counting about 6,140 signatures for Referendum 71, or about 22 percent, and had rejected 14.2 percent.

Dave Ammons, a spokesman for the secretary of state, called the petition's error rate one of the highest: “The error rate was the highest of any seen during the first three days of scrutiny.”

Proponents of Referendum 71 turned in 17,112, or 14 percent, more signatures than the required 120,577 needed to qualify, leaving little room for error. Election officials have said on average 18 percent of signatures are deemed invalid.

If the measure qualifies and passes in November, it would only repeal rights approved by the Legislature this year, the second time the domestic partnership law has been extended. Governor Chris Gregoire signed into law the original bill that created the domestic partnership law and the two extensions.

While gay rights opponents teeter on failure in Olympia, there are no such doubts in Bangor, Maine where opponents of gay marriage turned in more than sufficient signatures to force a “public veto” on the issue.