I voted last night, and was struck by the clarity and helpfulness of the ballot language for Referendum 74. It succinctly gives the history of how we got to this odd moment when we're putting minority rights up for a popular vote, it notes that voting to "Approve" same-sex marriage does nothing to harm religious freedom, and it specifically knocks down one of the most common misconceptions about R-74 by spelling out that R-74 won't force churches to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies if they don't want to.
The legislature passed Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6239 concerning marriage for same-sex couples, modified domestic-partnership law, and religious freedom, and voters have filed a sufficient referendum petition on this bill.
This bill would allow same-sex couples to marry, preserve domestic partnerships only for seniors, and preserve the right of clergy or religious organizations to refuse to perform, recognize, or accommodate any marriage ceremony.
Should this bill be:
[ ] Approved
[ ] Rejected
Which reminded me that back in February, Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna was urging a Thurston County judge to place conservative-approved, anti-gay talking points on the ballot instead of the language above.
If Seattle attorney Anne Levinson and others hadn't fought McKenna's strategy of casting R-74 as an attempt to "redefine marriage," I think we'd be seeing a much different outcome in the current polling.
Pollsters read the ballot language to poll respondents before asking which way they're going to vote, and McKenna's "redefine marriage" language would almost certainly have struck voters differently than the current language about "religious freedom."