Main | Wednesday, September 02, 2009

WA: Judge Rejects R-71 Challenge

Washington state judge Julie Spector has rejected a challenge to Referendum 71, the petition bid to overturn the state's new domestic partners law. But all is not lost as the judge said she had "serious concerns" about the validity of many of the signatures and told pro-gay opponents to refile their challenge in another court.

Judge Julie Spector issued her ruling just as Secretary of State Sam Reed certified the measure that aims to overturn the new "everything but marriage" law for the November ballot in Olympia. (Click here to read Spector's ruling.) Spector said challenges to a referendum must be filed in Thurston County Superior Court after certification - and supporters of the "everything but marriage" law still had that option for trying to get R-71 off the ballot. The group that brought the original lawsuit - Washington Families Standing Together - said it would go to court in Thurston County to try to block R-71. So far the total number of signatures accepted by elections officials for the measure is 121,847. That's 1,270 more than the minimum needed.

The judge criticized the lying tactics used by petition gatherers:
The judge also said there were highlights on top of the petitions that contain "apparent falsehoods," such as the statement that if same-sex marriage becomes law public schools would be forced to teach that homosexuality is "normal...even over the objections of parents." Spector said the required signature-gatherers declaration swears that people who signed the petition did so "knowingly." "It is unclear whether a signature-gatherer can swear than an individual signer has signed the petition 'knowingly' when the signature-gatherer has allegedly misrepresented the contents of the petition," Spector wrote.

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