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Anti-gay marriage group nears goal

OLYMPIA – Opponents of gay marriage said Wednesday they have reached the number of signatures needed to qualify a proposed referendum seeking to overturn a new law legalizing same-sex marriage in Washington state, and that they may turn them in as early as next Tuesday.

Joseph Backholm, with Preserve Marriage Washington, said that the campaign for Referendum 74 has at least 150,000 signatures on hand. Backers of R-74 need to turn in 120,577 valid voter signatures by next Wednesday in order to qualify for the ballot. The secretary of state’s office recommends that campaigns submit about 150,000 signatures in order to provide a cushion for invalid or duplicate signatures.

Zach Silk, a spokesman for Washington United for Marriage, a coalition that supports the gay marriage law in Washington state, said he wasn’t surprised that Preserve Marriage collected so many signatures.

“We always expected them to reach the number,” he said. “We’ve been preparing our campaign to talk to voters. We believe at the end of the day they’ll side with us to uphold the law.”



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