referendumPreserve Marriage Washington has filed a petition against the state’s new law allowing same-sex marriage, after collecting more than twice the required number of signatures to block the law. The issue will now go to a state referendum later this year, and if Washington follows the pattern in 30 other states opponents of the law change will win. Slate reports:

Washington became the seventh state to legalize same-sex marriages when the gay-marriage bill was was signed into law this past February. Domestic partnerships were legalized in 2007, and an “everything but marriage” clause expanded the existing law in 2009. That extension, however, was later vetoed by voters in a referendum.

In addition to Washington, three other states will take on the topic of gay marriage in the voting booth this fall. Maryland voters will decide  whether to uphold same-sex marriage legislation passed earlier this year, and Maine will revisit a marriage equality bill that was overturned by voters in 2009. Meanwhile, Minnesota is considering a constitutional amendment that will ban same-sex marriage, similar to the one North Carolina adopted last month.

LGBT advocates have been on something of a judicial and state legislative hot streak of late, but they have been so far unable to post a victory in a voter referendum on gay marriage. Voters have gone to the polls more than 30 times since 1998 to have their say on statewide ballot measures on the issue; advocates for same-sex marriage have lost every time.

Polls, politicians and people marking their own ballot papers — which is more reliable as an expression of the majority view?

Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan is the former deputy editor of MercatorNet