OLYMPIA — The proposed ballot measure asking voters whether they support or oppose the same-sex marriage bill is Referendum 74, the Secretary of State's office said today.
The proposal had been given the number 73 yesterday, when opponents of the law filed for a referendum a few hours after Gov. Chris Gregoire signed the bill. Turns out, however, that 73 was given last year to a proposed challenge of the medical marijuana law. That effort didn't make it to the ballot, but the Secretary of State's office doesn't recycle numbers from unsuccessful petition drives.
Processing the referendum proposal now requires the Attorney General's office to write the ballot title, description and summary. Under the law, that can't take more than five days. The title, description or summary can be challenged, which would result in an expedited hearing in Thurston County Superior Court.
The printing of petitions and signature gathering would likely begin in early March, state elections officials said. Opponents of the law have until June 6 to gather 120,577 valid signatures from registered voters. If they don't, the law takes effect June 7.
If they do, the law is on hold until the November election, and only takes effect in early December if it passes. If it fails, it never takes effect.