Voters in Washington State have
approved a gay-inclusive domestic partnership law, the AP reported.
Referendum 71 expands a 2007 domestic
partnership law for a second time, granting gay and lesbian couples
all the remaining state-provided rights, benefits and
responsibilities of marriage. The law, dubbed the “everything but
marriage” law by the media, was approved by lawmakers in the
Social conservatives, who say the law
violates a 1998 gay marriage ban ruled constitutional by the state's
Supreme Court, collected nearly 138,000 signatures to put the law up
for a vote.
The state continues to count mail
ballots, but with about 69% of the expected vote counted Thursday,
the AP called the election. Referendum 71 is leading 52-to-48
Voters in Maine faced a similar
question Tuesday after social conservatives challenged a gay marriage
law approved by lawmakers in the spring and put it up for a vote.
Gay activists in Maine, however, lost their bid to keep the law.
Referendum 71 also sparked two lawsuits
about transparency and financial disclosure laws, one which is
expected to be heard by the Supreme Court.