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Equality news round-up: Marriage equality in Washington state

Washington marriage

By Scottie ThomastonGoal Thermometer

– The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) launched a boycott of Washington-based T-Mobile after it announced support for marriage equality.

– The campaign has a Marriage Fact Check site that keeps up with all the misinformation being spread about the initiative. There is more information about NOM’s boycott there.

– The opponents of marriage equality in the state have had some campaign issues involving churches, which we’ve written about, and it appears that their newest policy still has problems.

– The latest SurveyUSA poll in the initiative says 56% of likely voters want to approve marriage equality in the state. 38% want the law to be rejected.


  • 1. Guest  |  September 14, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    AFER tweeted this, but I thought I'd announce it here. Vote for AFER to receive a $5M grant from Chase bank!

  • 2. Sagesse  |  September 14, 2012 at 12:56 pm


  • 3. Matt  |  September 14, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    I'm not holding my breath. This is the third "we're so close we can't lose" referendum. We'll know in hindsight. These fundie bigots who have nothing better to do have their ways in fear mongering and everyone knows it.

  • 4. Matt N  |  September 14, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    Washington's a little different. We voted 3 years ago to approve full domestic partnerships, and the polls for domestic partnerships then were very similar to what they are now for marriage.

    We shouldn't celebrate early, but there's lots of reason to be hopeful! Just about 50 days to go.

  • 5. Matt  |  September 15, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    Matt N, Arizona rejected a constitutional amendment to ban domestic partnerships along with marriage in 2006, and then approved a ban on marriage two years later. Simply, put the two just do not compare, not by a mile. Domestic partnerships enjoy widespread and incontrovertible approval. Marriage is a much more emotional term, as well it should be, but only if for the right reasons. That said, 56% in the latest poll is a good buffer against right wing tactics. Here's to hope.

  • 6. Matt N  |  September 16, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Matt, that's not my point. My point is that the current poll numbers for Ref 74 (marriage) are similar to the numbers prior to Ref 71 (domestic partnerships).

    My contention is that the amount of "lying" to pollsters is probably similar in both cases.

    Now, if you're telling me that the polls before each of the votes in Arizona showed very similar numbers, but then ended up with very different results, that would be more on point, and would show that polls for "marriage" are much less accurate than polls for "domestic partnerships"

  • 7. Mike in Baltimore  |  September 16, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Studies of polling show that when the polls say X% in support and Y% against, on election day the results are (basically) 7% less for the X vote, but no significant change in the Y vote.

    In other words, poll 1000 people and get 57% saying 'Yes' (570), 43% saying 'No' (430), on election day there'll be approx. 50% in favor and about 43% against (the 'missing' 7% either didn't vote, or left the ballot blank for that question).

    In other words, if the SurveyUSA poll says 38% against, don't count on more than 38%-40% marking the ballot against the question. I breathe a lot easier whenever the margin between 'Yes' and 'No' numbers exceed 7%. In Washington state's case, the margin is 18.

  • 8. Stefan  |  September 17, 2012 at 12:41 am

    The latest numbers from Survey USA shows us leading at 56%. In October 2009 the poll showed us leading by only 50%, so right now we are ahead of where we were with Referendum 71.

  • 9. Matt  |  September 17, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    The numbers of poll liars is not the same in both questions. The disparity between perceived desirability and antipathy is far greater in marriage equality than it is in domestic partnerships.

  • 10. Mike in Baltimore  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:44 pm


    Arizona is NOT Washington state. They don't even share a common state line.

    Compare that to Maryland and Virginia – the two states border each other, and share a common state line (the high tide line of the Potomac River on the 'right bank') for a couple hundred miles, and a man-made line of demarcation across the DelMarVa peninsula.

    Yet, in November of this year, Maryland will vote on whether to legalize marriage equality, while Virginia not only does not recognize marriage equality (even that performed in another jurisdiction), but has voted on numerous occasions to ban marriage equality in the state AND infect their state constitution with a ban on it.

    In other words, what happens in one state may or may not have ANY bearing on another state, adjoining or not.

  • 11. Matt  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:00 pm


    I'm sorry but the comparison holds.

    Both Arizona and Washington rejected bans on domestic partnerships at about the same rate.

  • 12. Mike in Baltimore  |  September 18, 2012 at 7:31 pm


    Yes, Arizona rejected domestic partnerships and marriage equality, and later came back two years later and rejected marriage equality.

    Arizona, though, is NOT Washington state. The closest they are to each other (NW AZ, SE WA) is several hundred miles apart.

    Maryland and Virginia abut each other, and share that border for a couple hundred miles.

    Both MD and VA are below the Mason-Dixon line (which was created not to delineate slave and non-slave states, but to settle the boundary dispute between MD and PA before it blew up into another war).

    MD stayed in the Union almost exclusively because President Lincoln stationed Union troops IN Maryland.

    Yet VA has voted several times to ban marriage equality in law and in the state constitution. In November, MD will be voting to uphold a law making marriage equality the law of the state of MD.

    Again, what happens in one state may or may not have any relationship to what happens in another state.

    Pennsylvania has (or maybe had) one of the strictest laws on voter ID. Maryland has recently instituted expanded early voting, and relaxed the absentee voting, from not physically able to vote in person on election day (elderly, out of state, etc.) to no need to give a reason for voting by absentee ballot.

    What happens(ed) in Pennsylvania has exactly ZERO effect in Maryland. And the two states share a common state line as long or longer than the state line shared by MD and VA.

    Oh, and you've never heard of coincidence? The Communists never gained an electoral victory in Russia before 1917, just as the National Socialists also never gained an electoral victory in Germany prior to 1933.

  • 13. jason walter  |  September 16, 2012 at 10:41 am

    <img src=""/&gt; 56% of likely voters want to approve marriage equality in the state, how accurate would this poll be though?<img src=""/&gt;

  • 14. Matt  |  September 16, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    I am sorry, but our community refuses to understand that the opinion polls do not ring true at the ballot. There is even a term for the disparity; it's called social desirability bias. We are not in the clear without 60% support. In September, 2008, 55% were against Proposition 8. We were partying to victory before the vote ever happened. Of course, we all know how that one went; the "in favor" crowd jumped 11 points in six weeks, and California banned marriage equality. I don't think, despite the clarion calls of victory once more, that we are guaranteed even one state this November. Fortunately, I find myself calloused against ballot losses. Civil right victories are made at the federal level because good leadership always leads in front of public opinion.

  • 15. John  |  September 16, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    The federal level?! Ha. They didn't repeal dadt until three quarters of the country agreed.

  • 16. Matt  |  September 17, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    Congress is but one branch of government, and the Democratic party is but one party.

  • 17. Jamie  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Prop 8 passed because we allowed lies from their side to go unanswered in our campaign. Also, Prop 8 took away rights, but was worded as if it did not. It's easy for people to vote for these amendments because they think that they are just voting on what marriage means to them. About 50% of the people that I have talked to in North Carolina with all sincerity, just thought they were doing nothing more than answering a poll about marriage. When you explain that it eliminated the rights of gay couples to get married or to even have domestic partnerships, they claim it doesn't. or that wasn't their intent.

  • 18. Lady Mabelyne  |  September 16, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    I predict we will win in Washington & Maine

  • 19. davep  |  September 16, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    Only if we all keep working our asses off and donating plenty of time and effort and money to the cause.

  • 20. Mike in Baltimore  |  September 16, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    I think so too, but the margin in Maryland will be more comparable to the margin in Washington state than in Maine.

  • 21. Mark Mead-Brewer  |  September 17, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    We here in Washington need some much better TV ads than the drivel they have showing now…we need to be addressing the lies and the distorted 'truths' our enemies are again spreading. We don't need more feel good TV spots telling the public how wonderful Gay people are….what we need is some hard hitting defensive ads speaking to the lies about 'religious freedoms/liberties being in jeopardy'
    I am thrilled the new ads showing loving parents supporting their LGBT children make everyone all warm and fuzzy, but it isn't doing squat to turn any fence sitters to our direction. These ads only speak to our community and to our allies….preaching to the choir as it were.
    We have seen these same types of ads fail in state after state….not sure why we continue to repeat the same mistakes hoping for a different outcome. UGH

  • 22. Jamie  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    I agree, 100%

    The good news is that our side has raised some $6 million dollars, and their side has raised about 10% of that. This is likely to be one state where we can waste this money on ineffective feel-good ads, and still eek out a victory.

  • 23. Mark Mead-Brewer  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    I hope you are right Jamie….but am not holding my breath.

  • 24. Anthony  |  September 18, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    I've got a great idea that somebody can send to all of the campaigns in the 4 states. Tie the anti-equality side to the westboro baptist church or some other kind of hateful rhetoric, and compare that to images of loving attractive young gay people. That might do the trick.

  • 25. Seth from Maryland  |  September 18, 2012 at 7:30 am

    New WA Poll Shows Growing Majority Support Marriage Equality | A new Elway Poll of Washington state finds Washington’s Referendum 74, on the question of approving marriage equality for same-sex couples in the state, has a 52 to 40 percent lead. Two months ago, the same firm found marriage equality leading by a 49 to 39 percent plurality.

  • 26. Mike in Baltimore  |  September 18, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    When I look at polls, I like to see where each individual pollster's trendline is going. For instance, Rasmussen is notorious for placing a thumb on the scale in favor of the GOTP candidate or issue.

    If in one poll, Rasmussen shows a candidate leading 55% for candidate (or issue A) and 45% for candidate (or against issue A), but a few weeks later the Rasmussen poll finds the race a 50/50 tie, it means the race has moved in favor of candidate (or issue) A. If another poll shows that the race was 50/50 at one point, and a few weeks later finds that the race is now 56% for candidate (or issue) A, and 44% for candidate B (or against issue A), the trendline again shows movement in favor of candidate (or issue) A.

    I may or may not trust any individual poll, but I look at the trend in polling of each pollster, which in the above cases show that the race is moving in that candidate A is gaining support, while candidate B is not, or issue A is gaining support.

    In other words, Elway polling might be totally accurate (or not, as it doesn't agree with SurveyUSA's 56%), but the trend in polling of both is favorable for marriage equality in Washington state.

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