Another right-winger in DP referendum effort
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Another right-winger in DP referendum effort
by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Televangelist and religious supplies merchant Gary Randall has announced that he too plans to file a referendum seeking to repeal the domestic partnership legislation recently passed by the Washington State legislature.

In an April 16 media release from the Faith and Freedom Network, Randall says, "Washington State lawmakers passed SB 5688 yesterday afternoon, thus giving the homosexual activists what they want. Gov. Gregoire will sign it. We will seek to overturn it by referendum."

"While the lawmakers were voting in favor of homosexual marriage in the Capitol," Randall continues, "I and several other leaders in the faith community were meeting a few blocks away, finalizing details before filing a referendum to overturn this legislation."

The legislation, which gives same-sex domestic partners all the rights and responsibilities enjoyed by opposite sex married couples, passed the state House by a margin of 62-35 on April 15. The bill had previously passed the state Senate 30-18. Gov. Christine Gregoire has promised to sign it into law, although no date has been set for the signing.

Randall joins Larry Stickney, Bruce Craswell, and Stephen Pidgeon of the Washington Values Alliance, who have been talking about a referendum for the past three weeks (see SGN, April 10 issue). No referendum has yet been filed with the state Secretary of State's office, however, and no one may begin to collect signatures for a referendum until the Governor signs the bill into law.

Approximately 120,000 signatures would be required to put a referendum on the ballot, 4% of the total votes cast in the 2008 gubernatorial election. Petitions with the required number of signatures must be filed with the state Secretary of State within 90 days after the legislature adjourns.

Randall is not a novice in the referendum game. He was one of the principals behind Referendum 65, which aimed at repealing the Anderson-Murray Civil Rights Bill in 2006. That effort failed to collect enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, and ended in mutual recriminations among Randall, eastside pastor Ken Hutcherson, and referendum campaign manager Tim Eyman.

Polling suggests that even if a domestic partnership repeal referendum qualifies for the ballot, it will have trouble passing. The UW's Washington Poll reports that 37% of the respondents in an October 30, 2008 poll believe that Gay and Lesbian couples should have the same legal right to marry as straight couples. An additional 29% said that Gay and Lesbian couples should have equal legal rights but it should not be called "marriage."

In the same poll, 11% said here should be domestic partnerships that give Gay and Lesbian couples only some of the benefits and protections of marriage. Only 21% said there should be no recognition whatsoever of same-sex couples.

Gary Randall is the head of an evangelical empire that includes the Faith and Freedom Network, Faith and Freedom PAC, and Faith and Freedom Foundation; Pamplin Communications, a chain of religious supply stores, music distributors, and radio stations; and the Gary Randall Program TV show.

While the Faith and Freedom Network and its affiliates list a Bellevue PO box as their mailing address, Randall's own website gives his address as a PO box in Lake Oswego, Oregon. He is registered to vote in Oregon, and therefore may not file a referendum in Washington State under his own name.

Stickney, Craswell, and Pidgeon of the Washington Values Alliance are all citizens of Washington State, as are Randall's former allies Ken Hutcherson and Tim Eyman.