OLYMPIA — The same-sex marriage legislation will be signed at 11:30 a.m. today in a ceremony in the State Reception Room.
Gov. Chris Gregoire usually signs bills in her conference room, which has a long table, lots of chairs, and is the site for most gubernatorial press conferences. It usually plenty big for even the most famous or notorious legislation.
The Reception Room, which is one floor up in the Capitol Building, is significantly bigger. It is also more ornate, with Tiffany chandeliers, historic flags, piano, marble walls and columns in which the tour guides love to point out images in the stone.
They booked the Reception Room because they are expecting an even bigger crowd than the one that filled the conference room for Gregoire's announcement that she would support a same-sex marriage bill this session.
The Secretary of State's office said that it will take a few hours after the signing to complete the paperwork required to have the bill scanned and given a Revised Code of Washington citation, which is necessary to be on any referendum the opponents would file in an effort to get the law on the November ballot. The office has not yet been contacted by a potential sponsor, who must bring in the referendum petition and pay the $5 filing fee.
The would be Referendum 73. If opponents can gather just under 121,000 valid signatures of state voters by June 6 — that's half what you need for an initiative — the law is put on hold and same-sex marriage goes on the November ballot. It would only become law if voters approve, and the timeline for election results to be certified means that would be early December
If they don't file enough signature, the law takes effect June 7.