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OLYMPIA — Supporters of Referendum 74, the state ballot measure that would legalize same-sex marriage, are declaring victory this afternoon, even before any more ballots are counted from the general election.
Opponents say they aren't conceding.
Washington United for Marriage scheduled an afternoon press conference to say that their analysis shows victory at hand. Spokesman Andy Grow said the campaign had "some of the best minds available" analyze the numbers from last night's ballot count and compare them with long-time voting trends. Based on the strong vote in King County, and the ballots that are likely still coming in, the lead will hold up, Grow said.
That statement prompted congratulations from other supporters, such as Gov. Chris Gregoire and state Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, but skepticism from Preserve Marriage Washington, which spearheaded the opposition.
There hadn't been any new ballots counted since midnight,when WUM supporters described themselves as "cautiously optimistic" but urged patience, Andy Chip of Preserve Marriage said.
Opponents are still behind about 3.5 percentage points, with an estimated 1.3 million ballots still to count. "Although the math is difficult, there remains a path to victory," Chip said.
So what happens if the trends turn around in later ballot counts? "We will issue another statement," Grow said. "But we don't think that's going to happen."
For the record, Spin Control isn't ready to call this race yet, although it is clear that supporters are in a much better position than opponents.
OLYMPIA — T-Mobile dialed in support of the ballot measure that would legalize same-sex marriage in Washington state.
The cellphone service is giving $25,000 to the main campaign to pass Referendum 74, Washington United for Marriage.
The company said in a press release it was part of "a long-standing focus on creating an inclusive workplace environment for our employees."
It's a big donation, but not among the top 10 for the yes campaign, which has about $5.8 million with the T-Mobile money added in.
Preserve Marriage Washington, the primary no campaign, has slightly under $440,000.
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.”
Zach Silk, campaign manager for the pro-referendum group Washington United for Marriage, said Cupich’s letter comes as no surprise, because the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops has a long-standing opposition to same-sex marriage. Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartrain urged Catholics in that archdiocese to sign the petitions to put Ref. 74 on the ballot, Silk noted.
But lay Catholics don’t necessarily agree with their clergy on the issue, he said. . .
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OLYMPIA — Supporters of a ballot measure to ratify same-sex marriage in Washington state received $2.5 million from the founder of Amazon.com, the campaign announced today.
Washington United for Marriage, which is pushing Referendum 74 on the Nov. 6 ballot, announced the contribution from Jeff and Mackenzie Bezos this morning. A spokesman said it was the largest single donation to a campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in the country.
It also more than doubles the campaign's total contributions, to about $4.8 million and shows continuing support from the state's high-tech executives. The campaign has also received contributions of $100,000 each from Microsoft's Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer.
Preserve Marriage Washington, the group that gathered signatures to put the measure on the ballot and is urging a no vote to block same sex-marriage, has reported about $250,000 in contributions.
The Washington Legislature passed a bill legalizing marriage between same-sex couples early this year and it was signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire, who had announced her support for the change before the session started. But opponents quickly filed a referendum and gathered the needed signatures, placing the law on hold.
Six states — Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont — as well as Washington, D.C., have passed laws legalizing same-sex marriage, but no state has approved it through a ballot measure. Washington, Maryland and Maine have same-sex marriage proposals on statewide ballots this fall.