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Another positive poll shows majority support for marriage equality in Washington state

Marriage equality

By Jacob Combs

Last week, a new PPP poll showed majority support for marriage equality in Maryland, with 57 percent of voters saying they would uphold a law granting marriages to gay and lesbian couples and only 37 percent saying they would vote against it.  Now, a new poll out from Washington shows similar support for marriage in that state, with 54 percent of respondents saying that they will vote to uphold that state’s marriage equality bill, and only 33 percent planning to vote against it.

Most importantly, the poll showed significant support for the measure among independents by a 52-36 percent margin. Despite these positive numbers, though, anti-marriage equality forces in the state are expected to turn in more than enough signatures to put the question on the ballot for voters to decide in November.

Even though Referendum 74 appears likely to make the ballot, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for the opponents of marriage equality in Washington.  As Pam’s House Blend reported Thursday, NOM set a goal of turning in 200,000 signatures in support of the measure (more than the 120,577 required by the state) by May 6, one month before the final deadline.  Past ballot initiatives in Washington have turned in many more than 120,000 signatures, with one tax repeal measure receiving 408,000 signatures in 2010.

May 6 has passed, and NOM has been remarkably silent.  Not only did the group miss its own self-proclaimed deadline, it looks like the NOM-backed Protect Marriage Washington may not even have 200,000 signatures to file by the final June 6 deadline.

Anti-marriage advocates will no doubt be out in force this summer and fall, engaging in the same kind of fear-based campaigning that we’ve seen too often in the past.  But their difficulty in gathering signatures and today’s new poll shows that the groundwork for marriage equality in Washington is strong.  Our opponents are having trouble riling up their base, and the state clearly supports marriage equality in principle.  Votes too often don’t match poll responses, so there is much work ahead of us, but Washington seems poised to be a very good battleground state for a win this November.


  • 1. Sagesse  |  May 31, 2012 at 10:47 am


  • 2. bayareajohn  |  May 31, 2012 at 11:19 am

    An early "vaccination" ad campaign could really help us in these locations where a last-minute scare push is certain. A calm, familiar face, maybe George Clooney or Brad Pitt, simply staring into the camera and saying, "Your going to be lied to. You are going to be told how terrible things will happen if equal rights are given to all people. You'll be warned that that children will suffer and religious freedom will end. These are lies, lies designed to frighten you into supporting their hate. Don't let the lies keep the hate going…." This campaign could be reused anywhere, with a card and tag at the end with the specifics of the local issue. I bet you can get 50 celebs to do these, just like the NO H8 pix. Better yet, tie this into the NO HATE ads…

    Studies show that ideas planted early protect against later messages, lessen susceptibility to purely emotional appeals without facts. Early exposure to credible ads warning of coming lies could make a difference in the end.

  • 3. DaveP  |  May 31, 2012 at 11:56 am

    I think those are VERY good ideas, John. Please forward them to the folks working on the campaigns in Washington and Maine etc.

  • 4. Scott Wooledge  |  May 31, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    I wish we'd go this route. Fred Karger taped an ad that warned folks in NH that NOM was going to lie to them. It was a good ad. (And we all know how the "repeal marriage" effort turned out for NOM. Not so great.)

    [youtube ad0ZqdsgaTs youtube]

  • 5. bayareajohn  |  May 31, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    His ad wasn't bad, but it was very slow to get to the point, and without a trusted face and voice, easy to tune out. It needs to hit harder, faster, with familiar faces… people that need no introduction or explanation of what side they are on. Imagine 10 instant face recognition non-elected celebrities each saying one sentence, full face closeup, direct to the viewer… starting instantly with "You are going to be lied to…" And yes, that first line should be from a Clooney-grade trusted face.

  • 6. Michael J. O'Connell  |  June 4, 2012 at 7:34 am

    Great idea I have submittted the following letter to the editor of the Sammamish review asking the editor (Ari) for his support. He has published my letters in the past so hopefully this one will appear next week or so.

    "In February the Washington legislature passed a bill which was signed by into law that ensured marriage equality for gays and lesbians. Formerly Washington State had civil unions – separate but equal. The US Supreme Court has repeatedly stuck down separate but equal systems, as inherently unequal. In America conservatives and liberals alike pride themselves on ensuring equal rights for all of our citizens. This has been our tradition and we have overcome numerous obstacles to enforce it. It is time we do so again.

    Opponents of gay marriage are putting two Initiatives on the ballot this fall. One will require a majority vote to approve gay marriage, and one will require a majority vote to deny gay marriage. In both cases, the intent is to maintain an inherently prejudicial marriage system.

    These opponents are going to execute a massive disinformation campaign, funded largely by out of state organizations, to portray gay marriage as an evil that will destroy traditional marriage, rob children of loving parents, hurt the interests of the state and so forth. Be aware that EVERY STATEMENT of justification from these campaigns WILL BE A LIE! Numerous states have had gay marriage for years and NONE OF THESE LIES has come to pass. Opponents used these same LIES in their legal approach to defeat California’s Proposition 8 in Federal Court and EVERY ONE OF THEM was found to have NO BASIS IN REALITY by the US Federal Court of Appeals.

    It appears that voters are getting the message. A new Washington poll – see – shows strong support for marriage equality, with 54 percent of respondents saying that they will vote to uphold the state’s marriage equality law, and only 33 percent planning to vote against it.

    I ask that you join us and approve marriage equality in November. We need to demonstrate our love and respect to our friends, coworkers, neighbors and family members and show forcefully that we reject bigoted special interests telling us that these people are second-class citizens.

    Michael J. O’Connell"

  • 7. jpmassar  |  May 31, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    The poll being reported says nothing about whether the people will vote to uphold or the law or not. The poll asks specifically whether same-sex marriage should be legal or not. It has nothing about the law per se.

  • 8. _BK_  |  May 31, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    Yeah, I won't be comfortable with any poll until there is greater than 60% support for marriage equality. We always seem to have a problem translating leads in polls into wins at the ballot box.

  • 9. Glen  |  May 31, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    I would like to see a "What marriage means to me" ad campaign, with a lot of straight married Washingtonian couples, with some gay couples desiring to be married thrown in.

    Make people think about what marriage really means to them, and how its no different than what it means to gay couples, and therefore why should they be denied equal rights.

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