May 31, 2012
By Jacob Combs
Last week, a new PPP poll showed majority support for marriage equality in Maryland, with 57 percent of voters saying they would uphold a law granting marriages to gay and lesbian couples and only 37 percent saying they would vote against it. Now, a new poll out from Washington shows similar support for marriage in that state, with 54 percent of respondents saying that they will vote to uphold that state’s marriage equality bill, and only 33 percent planning to vote against it.
Most importantly, the poll showed significant support for the measure among independents by a 52-36 percent margin. Despite these positive numbers, though, anti-marriage equality forces in the state are expected to turn in more than enough signatures to put the question on the ballot for voters to decide in November.
Even though Referendum 74 appears likely to make the ballot, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for the opponents of marriage equality in Washington. As Pam’s House Blend reported Thursday, NOM set a goal of turning in 200,000 signatures in support of the measure (more than the 120,577 required by the state) by May 6, one month before the final deadline. Past ballot initiatives in Washington have turned in many more than 120,000 signatures, with one tax repeal measure receiving 408,000 signatures in 2010.
May 6 has passed, and NOM has been remarkably silent. Not only did the group miss its own self-proclaimed deadline, it looks like the NOM-backed Protect Marriage Washington may not even have 200,000 signatures to file by the final June 6 deadline.
Anti-marriage advocates will no doubt be out in force this summer and fall, engaging in the same kind of fear-based campaigning that we’ve seen too often in the past. But their difficulty in gathering signatures and today’s new poll shows that the groundwork for marriage equality in Washington is strong. Our opponents are having trouble riling up their base, and the state clearly supports marriage equality in principle. Votes too often don’t match poll responses, so there is much work ahead of us, but Washington seems poised to be a very good battleground state for a win this November.