By Peter J. Smith

OLYMPIA, November 4, 2009 ( – Pro-family advocates can celebrate a victory on the East Coast with the defeat of same-sex “marriage” at the ballot box in Maine, but the referendum battle in the state of Washington over an expanded domestic partnerships law may not turn out to be a consolation prize for homosexualist activists smarting from their latest defeat.

Referendum 71 is a ballot measure in Washington that gives state voters a chance to approve a state law that confers on homosexual couples in domestic partnerships all the rights, obligations, and benefits of marriage except the name of “marriage.” Pro-family advocates put R-71 on the November ballot, realizing that the law was an invitation to state courts to redefine the institution of marriage by presenting domestic partnerships as second-class “marriages.” 

Even though homosexual activists' bid to approve R-71 remains slightly ahead, the race even now is too close to call, and could shift in favor of pro-marriage, pro-family advocates by the end of the evening.

As of press time, Washington voters are approving R-71 by 51.06 (511,651 votes in favor) percent to 48.97 percent (490,948 votes against), meaning that in order to win pro-family advocates must overcome a deficit of 20,000 votes and then some.

However, unlike most US states, Washingtonians decide a referendum through mail-in ballots, not by going to the polls, and the Protect Marriage Washington campaign tells that they believe they can still pull off a victory and take the lead by around 5 p.m. pacific standard time.

“It's very close,” said Larry Stickney, campaign manager for the Protect Marriage Washington Coalition, which is leading the charge to reject R-71. “We had anticipated a close race; it's very likely we will close the gap here to a certain degree, and we are hoping and praying we can take the lead here by five o'clock.”

“That's our optimistic projection, but it is within the realm of possibility,” continued Stickney.

Stickney told LSN that since 1996, conservative or Republican candidates “have nearly always brought in a two to four percent lead” when it comes to counting the late votes coming in from all over the state, and they believe the effort to reject R-71 should perform similarly, especially if opposing the measure is perceived as a Republican or conservative issue.

“We stand to gain somewhere in that percentage range,” said Stickney. He added that their number-crunchers have put their lowest estimate at a “9,000 vote loss,” but very close to the percentages necessary to force a recount.

“We are optimistic that we will go above and beyond that and possibly win this thing,” said Stickney.

“We'd like to be ahead at this point, but history shows we are definitely still in the hunt.”