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Volume 34
Issue 17
 
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Efforts to overturn Anderson-Murray Civil Rights Bill losing momentum, Eyman claims
Efforts to overturn Anderson-Murray Civil Rights Bill losing momentum, Eyman claims
"It is a common tactic for them to use the press to try to make folks on our side pause rather than continue on the aggressive pace we've been on," said Anne Levinson, chair of Washington Won't Discriminate.

by Robert Raketty - SGN Staff Writer

Tim Eyman, who is seeking to overturn Washington's new law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation, told his supporters that it would "take a Herculean effort" to collect the necessary signatures to put the issue before voters.

"Without a dramatic ramp-up of signatures in these final 43 days, Referendum 65 won't make the ballot," Eyman wrote Wednesday in an e-mail to his supporters. "There's enough time to do it but it's going to take a Herculean effort by all of us to make it happen."

According to Eyman, the group had collected only 8,718 signatures as of Wednesday. That number is far short of the required 112, 440 signatures needed to put Referendum 65 on the November ballot. He called on his supporters to "redouble and retriple their efforts."

Joseph Fuiten, chair of the anti-Gay organization Faith & Freedom Network, told the Associated Press on Wednesday that he hopes the Washington State Supreme Court will issue its ruling on marriage equality for same-sex couples - a matter currently pending before the court - before the referendum deadline. He believes the high court's ruling would be "the spark that will set people on fire."

Although the campaign has raised $13,347, according to Eyman's e-mail, he wrote that $9,000 of that amount came in the form of loans from the three Referendum 65 co-sponsors, which includes Eyman. "Without a big surge in financial support, Referendum 65 won't qualify," he warned.

However, the chair of Washington Won't Discriminate, Anne Levinson, said her group has no intention of slowing down. "Tim Eyman and company sent a press release out not only to their supporters but to the media statewide as well," she said. "The only reasons they would have for sending this kind of information to the media is to motivate their base and to try to stall our momentum.

"It is a common tactic for them to use the press to try to make folks on our side pause rather than continue on the aggressive pace we've been on. They hope it will slow contributions for us while - at the same time - energizing their base.

"We have no reason to believe the Christian Coalition and the Faith & Freedom Network aren't actively gathering signatures in large numbers. ... We are organizing all over the state and will continue to do so to ensure we keep the protections against discrimination for our friends, neighbors, co-workers and families. We will not allow them to marginalize anyone in our state."

ESHB 2661 was signed by Gov. Christine Gregoire on January 31. Similar legislation had languished in Olympia for nearly three decades. Eyman had announced his intentions to introduce ballot measures aimed at overturning the new law, even before the bill had been signed by the governor.

A referendum allows voters to decide on whether or not to "approve" or "reject" an existing law that had been passed by the Legislature. Should Referendum 65 appear on the ballot, voters seeking to retain the new antidiscrimination law would need to vote to "approve" the referendum. Those seeking to overturn the law would need to "reject" it.

Washington became the 17th state in the country to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation and the seventh to include transgender persons.
 

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