A domestic partnership bill in Washington state that gave same-sex couples all the rights and benefits of marriage but the name, otherwise known as the "Everything But Marriage" law, passed in April.
Before the law had even gone into effect, opponents of LGBT rights announced they would strive to gain enough signatures to put it up to a vote as Referendum 71 in the hopes it will be overturned at the ballot. But with the Saturday 2pm deadline coming up, and with only 75,000 of the 120,577 signatures needed, they're failing.
Gary Randall, president of the Faith and Freedom Network and the main organizer behind the signature gathering, has also come under intense criticism from his conservative colleagues, and with internal disputes, it's not looking good. Needing another 75,000 signatures to ensure they have enough valid signatures, they need to collect in one week as many signatures they gathered in last eight weeks.
"As a political movement, it is a leaderless army milling about the field," acknowledged Pastor Joseph Fuiten, one of the area's most visible leaders on the Christian right. He wont' sign the referendum saying it, "drags us backward into a negative fight we're not going to win."
"I don't want the church to be viewed as oppressive, [and] as opposed to people living their lives and eking out whatever happiness they can."
To make matters worse for Randall, Washington Families Standing Together, a coalition of state organizations, dedicated to protecting domestic partnership rights in the state, issued a press release proclaiming their power.
"Washington Families Standing Together (WAFST) announced today that in just eight weeks, tens of thousands of individuals and more than 110 organizations have joined together to protect Washington families from the threat posed by the attempted repeal of the state’s domestic partnership law...
“People from all parts of our state want to support their friends and neighbors. They are very worried that families in their communities will lose important legal and financial protections if the law is repealed,” said Josh Friedes of WAFST. “We have had over 40,000 Washingtonians, from every county in the state, pledge their support of the domestic partnership law and we have not sent a single piece of mail or done any advertising.
“. . . It’s quite powerful to see that groups who represent such a broad cross section of the state are all united in the common goal of saving the domestic partnership law.”
It's not looking good for the anti-LGBT in Washington. And that's a good thing.