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
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
of gay marriage turned in more than sufficient signatures to force a
“public veto” on the issue.