Image credit: Washington Secretary of State
Looks like there's been a projected winner in the R-71 referendum in the state of Washington:
After Thursday's vote count in Washington, Referendum 71 was being approved 52 percent to 48 percent. The measure approval rate has been expanding since Election Day Tuesday. About 69 percent of the vote has so far been tallied.
The measure asked people to approve or reject the latest expansion of the new state law that Gov. Chris Gregoire signed in May granting same sex domestic partners all the rights of married couples. That same month conservative interests announced they would attempt to overturn the new law and enough signatures were collected enough to place R-71 on the November ballot.
Washington Voters Approve Expanded Gay Rights
It's the first time that gay marriage opponents have failed on a referendum or initiative. Maine, of course, approved a referendum banning same-sex marriage in that state. As I wrote yesterday, this referendum didn't call it same-sex marriage, but rather "partnership". Still, it affirms that gay couples can have most of the rights accorded married couples.
It remains to be seen if the usual crowd of geniuses will decide that this means gay marriage is not yet approved by Americans, but partnership is. I think trying to deduce that from two data points in an off-year election is pretty silly. The bigots in this state fought this just as hard as they would have if it was gay marriage, probably because they know that for all practical purposes it is. That won't stop the usual fools who are always trying to find some imaginary political center from doing it this time, but it's clearly foolish this time. What I think you can take from both this vote and what occurred in Maine is that there are some wheel-heeled interests that will do whatever they can to stop gay rights from expanding.
They don't care what those rights are called.