MOUNT VERNON — Sharon Brandt came to her caucus, at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Skagit County, armed and ready to collect signatures for Initiative 1192, one of two efforts to put the fate of same-sex marriage legislation in Washington to a popular vote this autumn.
Brandt said she found out about the effort just last weekend and wanted to get involved, so she attended an organizing meeting in Everett and picked up petition forms.
“What [the legislature] voted for goes against God,” she said, “and we don’t believe you can go against God.”
Signatures stacked up slowly at first, but as caucus-goers here wrapped up their meetings, a crowd formed around the table where Brandt had laid out the petition forms. About 150 people attended the caucus overall, and by the time the last person had filed out the door of the church, Brandt said she had collected close to 100 signatures in support of Initiative 1192.“I think it will get on the ballot, but I don’t know if it will pass or not,” said Fil Maestas, a Romney supporter who also signed the petition.
He said signature collection efforts started about a week and half ago outside the doors of the Mount Vernon Wal-Mart where he works. But the popular canvassing spot was claimed a few days later by Girl Scouts, who had reserved the space to sell cookies.
Protect Marriage Washington, the group sponsoring the I-1192 effort, needs to collect over 240,000 valid signatures by July 6 to get the initiative on the November ballot. A second effort, Referendum 74, only requires 120,577 signatures in order to put the same-sex marriage bill passed by the state legislature last month to a popular vote.
While it might seem that the two separate efforts would sap support from each other, one website opposed to the efforts points out that if they both make it on the ballot, it will create the confusing situation where a ‘yes’ vote on one will be equivalent to a ‘no’ vote on the other. In addition, if either of the two measures passed it would overturn the same-sex marriage bill.
But first, the initiative and referendum efforts need to collect enough signatures. Plenty of voters here today lent their names to the cause.