Spokane County vote on Referendum 74 after Wednesday's ballot count.
OLYMPIA — Opponents of Referendum 74, this afternoon conceded that they will lose the fight over same-sex marriage in Washington.
The latest vote count has Ref. 74 passing with about 52 percent of the vote, or a lead of about 84,000 ballots.
On Wednesday, supporters of the measure declared victory, saying their analysis of ballot returns convinced them there was no way it would fail. A spokesman for Preserve Marriage Washington, the group mounting the opposition campaign said at that time they believed there was “a path to victory” in later ballot returns.
Today, however, Joseph Backholm, the group's chairman, said the ballots counted Wednesday afternoon and evening showed they were not closing the gap. Instead, the gap was growing.
“We are disappointed in losing a tough election battle on marriage by a narrow margin,” he said.
Backholm blamed the loss on Washington being “a deep blue state and one of the most secular in the nation” as well as the disparity between the two campaigns in terms of fundraising. He insisted it was not “a turning point” for the nation.
“It's not a turning point when you win on your home turf,” Backholm insisted in a prepared statement.
Washington was one of three states to approve same-sex marriage in Tuesday's election. Same-sex couples will be able to apply for marriage licenses on Dec. 6, the day election results are certified and approved ballot measures become law.
Under state law, couples must wait three days after they get their license to marry.