According to Sandeep Kaushik, the spokesperson for I-1077, the campaign filed an updated version of the initiative today.
The initiative's original language creates an income tax on married couples making more than $400,000 a year and individuals making $200,000 a year. Domestic partnerships were not covered by the language of the initiative. Consequently, wealthy same-sex couples would wind up facing larger income tax bills than wealthy straight couples if Washington state voters approved the law.
"Our understanding is that the state's underlying civil rights laws would apply here," said Kaushik. "The law that was passed, the 'everything but marriage' approved by voters, says that domestic partnerships are to be treated exactly like marriage under state law. [But] some attorneys have said that there are issues with I-1077's language, issues that may undermine that. We're working on trying to figure that out now. But our intent was always that couples in domestic partnerships would be treated the same as married couples.
"We think there is a strong legal argument to be made that the underlying civil rights laws of Washington state apply to I-1077," Kaushik continued. "We're tying to get that clarified right now."
For the moment the I-1077 campaign is continuing to gather signatures for the original version of the initiative.
"There's a time issue here," said Kaushik. The campaign has until July 2 to collect the nearly 250,000 signatures it needs to place the initiative on the ballot. "If we determine that we need to switch to the other initiative [to protect couples in domestic partnerships], we will" Kaushik said. "I'll know more in the next couple of days about whether we can move forward with 1077, or whether we'll switch to the refiled initiative."
The campaign is hoping they don't need to switch as doing so would delay signature gathering for as many as three weeks while the campaign waited for the state to approve the refiled initiative.