u 2012 Washington General Election

Referendum Measure 74

About this measure

The legislature passed Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6239 concerning marriage for same-sex couples, modified domestic-partnership law, and religious freedom, and voters have filed a sufficient referendum petition on this bill.

This bill would allow same-sex couples to marry, preserve domestic partnerships only for seniors, and preserve the right of clergy or religious organizations to refuse to perform, recognize, or accommodate any marriage ceremony.

Should this bill be Approved or Rejected?

Last updated: Nov. 13, 9:30 p.m. Election results

Approved 1,527,272 53.23%
Rejected 1,341,926 46.77%
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Washington made news

SEATTLE – People in Washington decided that marijuana, long derided as a dangerous drug that could lead to more harmful addictions, wasn’t so bad after all. Initiative 502, legalizing pot for adults, was easily approved in November and that sweeping change to drug policy was voted the state’s top news story of 2012 by Associated Press member editors. The other top news items of the past 12 months included another vote by Washingtonians, this one affirming gay people’s right to marry, as well as the expensive, hard-fought governor’s race, a local soldier accused of massacring civilians in Afghanistan and large, destructive wildfires in central and Eastern Washington. Read more

Valley residents hold one of state’s first same-sex weddings

When Chase Lawrence was in the fourth grade, his teacher asked his class to envision their future. Lawrence answered that he would be living in England and married to a princess. Read more

Hundreds take wedding vows

SEATTLE – Scores of same-sex couples crowded Seattle City Hall for a day of wedding ceremonies on Sunday, the first day they could marry after the state’s voter-approved gay marriage law took effect. While numerous weddings were taking place across the state, both private and public, the city hall weddings were the largest public event, with more than 130 couples taking part. The city set up five separate chapels to accommodate the revelers. From 10 a.m. through 5 p.m., cheers and applause regularly broke out as marriages became official. Read more

License to wed

After waiting months, years and even decades, the last few hours and minutes of anticipation were joyful. The dozen or so same-sex couples who were among the first to receive marriage licenses in Spokane County on Thursday spent their time in line taking pictures and chatting about families, love stories and wedding plans. Read more

23 same-sex couples get licenses in Spokane

Spokane County officials issued 23 marriage licenses to same-sex couples Thursday on the first day that became legal in Washington…

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Gay marriage law takes effect today

OLYMPIA – Washington took the last step Wednesday in changing its laws to allow same-sex couples to marry. With about two dozen supporters looking on, Gov. Chris Gregoire and Secretary of State Sam Reed signed documents certifying that Referendum 74 passed in the Nov. 6 election.  Read more

State election results, including same-sex marriage law, made official

Gov. Gregoire signs election results with Secretary of State Reed.

OLYMPIA — Washington state took the last step Wednesday in changing…

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Bragging rights on same-sex marriage go to WA

Supporters of same-sex marriage in Washington state apparently have something to hold over those other states that approved a similar…

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Vestal: Witt has next civil rights victory scheduled

On Thursday, Margaret Witt will be first in line again. Witt, the retired Air Force major who helped dismantle the misbegotten “don’t ask, don’t tell” law, is set to receive the first marriage license for two women granted in Spokane County, along with her longtime companion, Laurie Johnson. The actual wedding will come a little later, but in terms of public policy – the no-longer-discriminatory limits around the state’s issuing of a license – the achievement will have been achieved. The dream Margie Witt has only recently known to dream is coming true. Read more

Deadline looms for marriage licenses

OLYMPIA – Voters changed state law earlier this month so same-sex couples can marry in Washington. The question now is whether the state can change its forms to reflect gender-neutral titles by the time the law takes effect Dec. 6. The state Department of Health, which keeps marriage and divorce statistics, holds a hearing this morning on a small but vital part of the marriage process: the paperwork. Read more

Law puts churches on varied paths about same-sex weddings

For some pastors, Washington’s new law allowing same-sex marriage only adds a piece of paperwork to the blessings they already give to gay couples making a lifelong commitment. For others, the new law has no bearing because their church rules already bar them from marrying people of the same sex. Read more

McKenna aides still confident of victory

OLYMPIA – Republican Rob McKenna’s campaign insisted Thursday he would overtake Democrat Jay Inslee “next week or the week after” as ballot counting continued in Washington’s close gubernatorial race. But after Thursday’s counts the gap in their vote totals remained about the same: 54,000 more votes for Inslee. Read more

Ballot counts continue: Inslee still ahead, McKenna not conceding

OLYMPIA – Republican Rob McKenna’s campaign insisted he would overtake Democrat Jay Inslee “next week or the week after” as…

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Same-sex marriage foes concede defeat

Spokane County vote on Referendum 74 after Wednesday's ballot count.

OLYMPIA — Opponents of Referendum 74, this afternoon conceded that…

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Same-sex marriage backers celebrate

With ballot counts continuing around Washington, supporters of same-sex marriage claimed victory Wednesday, saying their projections convince them Referendum 74 will pass. While they collected congratulations from the measure’s chief backers in the state Capitol, opponents said they weren’t ready to concede that Washington would join the small but growing list of states that allow same-sex marriage. Read more

Ref. 74 supporters declaring victory

OLYMPIA — Supporters of Referendum 74, the state ballot measure that would legalize same-sex marriage, are declaring victory this afternoon, even…

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Mapping the vote: Spokane on same-sex marriage

Referendum 74, which would legalize same-sex marriage in Washington, is slightly ahead statewide, but trails in Spokane County

For the…

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Pot use OK’d; same-sex marriage, charter schools leading

Same-sex couples may be able to marry in Washington as early as next month, as the state’s voters seemed to be narrowly approving a law that was passed then suspended earlier this year. More certain for December, adults who use marijuana won’t need to fear arrest from state or local law enforcement officials, at least. By a larger margin, voters were approving a ballot measure that legalizes recreational marijuana use for adults, although it keeps it illegal for those under 21. The drug will still be illegal for everyone under federal law, however, and the state is headed for a new chapter in its 12-year-fight with the other Washington over who knows best about marijuana. Read more

On the Web: HuffPo profiles state Rep. Walsh

Another example of Washington state politicians getting ink elsewhere: Huffington Post looks at state Rep. Maureen Walsh, R-Walla Walla, noting…

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Ref 74 gets $25,000 from Brad Pitt

The campaign to pass same-sex marriage in Washington state got a contribution Wednesday that is far from it's biggest…

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R-74 unlikely to bring financial boon to East Side

If Washington voters approve same-sex marriage next month, eastbound drivers on Interstate 90 wouldn’t hit another county where same-sex couples could marry until entering New York. Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton says Spokane’s border location may increase the number of out-of-state same-sex couples who arrive here to marry, but other factors may keep that number relatively low. Read more

Obama backs Ref. 74

OLYMPIA — President Obama gave a thumbs up to Referendum 74, the ballot measure in Washington that would legalize same-sex marriage…

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Big money continues to roll in to campaigns

With just two weeks left for voters to return their general election ballots, large amounts of money are flowing into…

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Sunday spin: Times wades into McKenna, Ref. 74 campaigns

OLYMPIA – The biggest news in the state’s political campaigns last week probably was not made by a politician or…

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Spin Control: Times political ads might not be money well spent

OLYMPIA – The biggest news in the state’s political campaigns last week probably was not made by a politician or group working for or against a ballot measure. Instead, it was made by the Seattle Times Co., with a decision to run a full-page ad in support of Republican Rob McKenna’s gubernatorial bid, at no cost to the McKenna campaign. Read more

Washington voters will decide fate of same-sex marriages

OLYMPIA – Three years ago, Washington voters approved an “everything but marriage” law, giving same-sex couples all the state-granted rights and benefits that married couples have. Now voters will decide whether to take the next step and allow marriage for all couples in the state, regardless of sexual orientation – something that has not yet been achieved by a public vote. Referendum 74 asks people to either approve or reject the state’s new law legalizing same-sex marriage. That law, passed earlier this year, is on hold pending next month’s vote. Read more

Anti-gay marriage group airs TV advertisements

OLYMPIA – The group fighting to overturn Washington’s gay marriage law started running its first TV ads in the state on Thursday. The 30-second ad from Preserve Marriage Washington is running statewide on both broadcast and cable channels. Read more

Gregoire video appears on anti Ref 74 blog


The National Organization for Marriage, which is opposing the ballot measure which would let Washington recognize same-sex marriage, posted a…

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Update: Both sides of Ref. 74 campaign in Spokane Tuesday

Expect some action tomorrow for the forces for and against Referendum 74, the ballot measure to affirm the law allowing…

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Plenty of Spokane’s faithful supporting Referendum 74

As the campaign for Referendum 74 rolls along, you might fall under the impression that people of faith – all of them – are opposed to gay marriage. That this historic vote before us is a battle between the godless and the godly. Or at least the insufficiently godly with those who are properly so. Read more

T-Mobile kicks in to Ref. 74 campaign

OLYMPIA — T-Mobile dialed in support of the ballot measure that would legalize same-sex marriage in Washington state.

The cellphone service…

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Spokane bishop urges ‘no’ on R-74

Spokane’s Catholic bishop is urging members of his diocese to vote against the same-sex marriage law that will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot. In a letter to parishioners available at weekend services, the Rev. Blase Cupich contends that if Referendum 74 passes, it will redefine marriage and create “a major shift in an institution that serves as the foundation stone of society.” He called same-sex marriage a passionate issue and called for respectful debate that would “generate light rather than heat.” Read more

Spokane bishop: Vote no on Ref. 74

Spokane’s Catholic bishop is urging members of his diocese to vote against the same-sex marriage law that will appear…

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Amazon’s Bezos boosts R-74

OLYMPIA – A campaign to ratify same-sex marriage in Washington received $2.5 million from the founder of Amazon.com. Washington United for Marriage, which is pushing approval of Referendum 74 on the Nov. 6 ballot, announced the contribution from Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos on Friday. A spokesman said it was the largest single donation in the country to a campaign to legalize same-sex marriage. Read more

Same-sex marriage campaign gets $2.5 million boost

OLYMPIA — Supporters of a ballot measure to ratify same-sex marriage in Washington state received $2.5 million from the founder…

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