Some voters remain confused about what a yes or no vote means on Referendum 74, the state's same-sex-marriage ballot measure. Here's a closer look.

Less than two weeks before the Nov. 6 election, some people remain confused about how they should vote on Referendum 74, the state’s same-sex-marriage ballot measure.

It might seem pretty straightforward: Approve Ref. 74 if you want gay and lesbian couples to have the right to marry; reject it if you don’t.

Yet, for untold numbers of voters, which box to check is not so clear.

Part of the confusion stems from the two-step process for allowing voters to decide the fate of legislation that lawmakers passed, and the governor signed, but some people don’t like.

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Opponents of gay marriage, organized as Preserve Marriage Washington, originated the referendum and gathered signatures for it with hopes that voters would throw the legislation out.

So while initially they were “for” getting it on the ballot, once that happened, their focus shifted — urging people to reject the measure, which would prevent it from taking effect.

Meanwhile, supporters of gay rights, who believe it is wrong to put the rights of people on the ballot, opposed the referendum during the signature-gathering phase. Once the measure qualified for the ballot, however, they wanted voters to approve the referendum, thereby allowing the legislation to take effect.

— Seattle Times staff