STATEMENT FROM WASHINGTON FAMILIES STANDING TOGETHER CONCERNING LITIGATION FILED ON AUGUST 27th TO PROTECT FAMILIES IN WASHINGTON STATE
We respect the referendum process and the public’s right to vote, but we have been increasingly concerned that, along with other issues our observers have noted with signatures being accepted that in the view of observers should have been rejected, the Secretary of State has accepted thousands of signatures that were not in compliance with State laws related to fraud in the signature-gathering process.
Because of the limited number of signatures turned in, failure to enforce these laws could well lead to a measure being qualified for the ballot that should not be, and that measure has the potential to strip away important protections from thousands of families all across the state. There are domestic partners in every county of the state. They are same sex couples and heterosexual couples where one or both partners is 62 years or older. These couples should not have to worry about whether a partner can take sick leave to care for a loved one who is ill. A firefighter should not have to worry about whether her children will be taken care of if something should happen to her while fighting a fire. These are basic rights and protections that all families should have. Those trying to qualify Referendum 71 for the ballot do not think that families different than theirs should have these protections, so they are trying to overturn the law.
We expect a strong vote in support of the domestic partnership law if it is on the ballot, but we should not put people through the hardship of a statewide campaign and have them go through months of additional worry needlessly. Referendum 71 should only be on the ballot if it has qualified based on legally valid signatures. In order to ensure that it is not put on the ballot in error, we needed to file a legal challenge at this point.
We have waited because we wanted to give the process a chance to work, but we did not want to wait so long as to interfere with the Secretary of State’s ability to produce election materials in a timely manner. This motion will be heard on an expedited basis early next week. You can read the pleadings online:
Meanwhile we need to move full speed ahead with the campaign – the first ballots go out in about 6 weeks!
-Anne Levinson Chair, WAFST www.approve71.org