A Thurston County Superior Court ruling clears the way for opponents of same-sex marriage to collect signatures to put a referendum before voters.

Share story

OLYMPIA — A Thurston County Superior Court judge has ruled that a proposed referendum seeking to overturn a new law legalizing gay marriage in Washington state will not contain the phrase “redefine marriage” if it makes it to the November ballot.

Judge Thomas McPhee issued his decision Tuesday on the language for the ballot title and summary of Referendum 74.

Gay-marriage supporters were opposed to language as written by attorneys from the office of Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna. McKenna’s office described the new law as one that “would redefine marriage to allow same-sex couples to marry.”

Preserve Marriage Washington, which filed the referendum, can start circulating petitions to collect signatures. If they collect more than 120,577 valid voter signatures by June 6, the law will be put on hold pending the outcome of a November vote.