By Kathleen Gilbert

SEATTLE, Washington, May 5, 2009 ( – A pro-family group in Washington state has filed a request for a voter referendum to challenge a law set to bestow all marriage privileges to domestic partnerships, including same-sex couples.

Larry Stickney, president of the Washington Values Alliance, on Monday filed a referendum that would allow voters to overturn Senate Bill 5688, the new domestic partnership law Gov. Chris Gregoire vowed to sign into law later this month.  The Washington legislature was split mostly down party lines in approving the bill last month, 30-18 in the Senate and 62-35 in the House.

Stickney argues that the law sets the stage for judicial activism to overturn the country’s law protecting marriage as between a man and a woman. 

“We’re seeing [same-sex] marriage achieved by judicial fiat [in other states],” Stickney told reporters yesterday, “And this kind of legislation kind of tees it up for the courts to act.”

Washington is one of many states that has its own Defense of Marriage Act.  However, in Iowa, which also had its own marriage defense law, judges ruled April 3 that the court had a “duty” to overturn that law, which it had deemed unconstitutional.

The Washington Values Alliance is part of a coalition opposing the bill, including the Faith and Freedom Network, the Family Policy Institute of Washington, and the Christian Coalition. 

The new referendum, known as Referendum 71, will need to accumulate 120,577 valid voter signatures by July 25 to make it onto the Nov. 3 ballot.