Preserve Marriage Washington [advocacy website] presented over 200,000 referendum signatures on Wednesday seeking to overturn recently signed same-sex marriage legislation. The signatures have prevented Washington's gay marriage law from taking effect on Thursday. Earlier this year Washington Governor Chris Gregoire [official website] announced her plans to permit same-sex marriages to be performed in the state and signed the measure into law [JURIST reports] in February. Over the next week state officials will determine whether the proposed referendum qualifies for a public vote [AP report]. The issue will likely be voted on at the ballots in November.
Gregoire has been a consistent advocate for gay rights [JURIST news archive] during her tenure as governor. In April 2011 she signed a bill [JURIST report] that recognized as legal same-sex marriage licenses from other states. In March 2007 Gregoire signed legislation [JURIST report] that recognized domestic partnership status for same-sex couples. Same-sex marriage remains a contentious issue even after the passage of similar laws in other states. Seven other jurisdictions, including Maryland, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire and the District of Columbia [JURIST reports], allow same-sex marriage. Comprehensive coverage of the legal controversy can be found in the JURIST Same-Sex Marriage Feature.