Thanks to Sandi and Dave for sending that photo from the West Seattle Farmers’ Market, noting the counterprotesters with handwritten signs reading “Meet the Bigot.” Referendum 71 is one of two statewide measures on next month’s ballot (the other is I-1033). Your ballot may arrive in the mail as soon as the end of the week, as mailing is scheduled to start Wednesday. R-71 is a referendum on the domestic-partnership-rights bill approved by the State Legislature and signed by the governor to make sure that registered same-sex domestic partners (and opposite-sex partners 62 and up) will not be denied rights such as hospital visitation, death benefits and taking leave to care for an ailing partner. Voting to approve Referendum 71 — the positiion WSB endorses (a departure from our general current no-endorsement policy) — affirms the Legislature’s vote and guarantees those rights. Here is the “ballot title” language you will see on your ballot:
The legislature passed Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill 5688 concerning rights and responsibilities of state-registered domestic partners and voters have filed a sufficient referendum petition on this bill.
This bill would expand the rights, responsibilities, and obligations accorded state-registered same-sex and senior domestic partners to be equivalent to those of married spouses, except that a domestic partnership is not a marriage.
The state’s Online Voters’ Guide with information on R-71 (as well as arguments for and against) can be seen here.