WhoSigned.Org is a grassroots organization of Washington State residents who believe that fairness, equality and freedom from discrimination are core values of our state.
We believe that the civil rights of minorities should not be put to a popular vote and be made subject to the sentiments of the majority.
We believe that in a ballot initiative and referendum system where popular votes subject minorities to the whims of the majority the importance of transparency is paramount.
We believe the process for initiative and referendum petitions that maintains discrimination or seeks to strip away equal rights, protections, and status for Washington State residents must meet a high standard of transparency to ensure a fair and open discussion in the public forum.
In January 2006, the Murray Anderson Civil Rights Bill (ESHB 2661) was passed expanding the jurisdiction of the Human Rights Commission by prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
In February 2006, Tim Eyman, M.J. Fagan, and Leo J. Fagan lodged Referendum 65 seeking to repeal the anti-discrimination law before it could take effect. The effort failed to gather the required signatures and the Murray Anderson Civil Rights Bill took effect on June 7th, 2006.
In January 2007, Ken Hutcherson lodged Initiative 963 also seeking to roll back the Murray Anderson Civil Rights Bill. This effort was discontinued and failed to submit the required signatures by the July 6, 2007 deadline.
In February 2007, three lawmakers put forward two bills with the goal of making the names and addresses of petition signers in Washington State secret. HB 2255 put forward by Bruce Chandler (R) and Joel Kretz (R), and HB 2277 put forward by Chandler, Kretz, and Mike Armstrong (R) failed to make it out of committee.
In April 2007, the Washington State Legislature passed HB 5336 which granted limited Domestic Partnership rights for same-sex couples. The law took effect on July 22nd, 2007.
In April 2009, the Washington State Legislature passed E2SSB 5688. This bill expanded existing Domestic Partnership legislation that protected both same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples aged 62 and older.
In May 2009, Lawrence Stickney lodged Referendum 71 on behalf of Protect Marriage Washington who gathered signatures to prevent the expanded Domestic Partnership protections from being enacted. The 137,713 gathered signatures were submitted in July 2009, and Referendum 71 was ultimately certified and placed on the ballot.
In November 2009, the people of Washington State approved Referendum 71 validating the expansion of Domestic Partnership rights and responsibilities by a vote of 53% to 47%.
In October 2011, after a protracted legal battle to hide Referendum 71 petition signers which reached the Supreme Court of the United States, Judge Settle ruled the records at issue in the Doe v. Reed case could be released and the case was closed. The Secretary of State finally released the Referendum 71 petitions in response to more than 30 public record requests.
In January 2012, Stephen Pidgeon lodged Initiative 1192 to redefine marriage as a civil contract between one man and one woman in anticipation of a Civil Marriage Equality Bill passing the legislature. Mr Pidgeon is required to submit 241,153 valid signatures by July 6th, 2012 for the measure to qualify for the ballot.
In February 2012, the Washington State Legislature passed ESSB 6239 recognizing Civil Marriage Equality and setting a timeline for existing Domestic Partnerships to be merged into civil marriages. On February 13th, 2012 Governor Christine Gregoire signed the bill making Washington the seventh state to give same-sex couples equal access to civil marriage.
On February 13th, 2012 Joseph Backholm, the director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington, lodged Referendum 74 on behalf of Preserve Marriage Washington seeking to prevent the Civil Marriage law from taking effect on June 7th, 2012. The coalition will be required to submit 120,577 valid signatures by June 6th, 2012 to qualify the measure for the November 2012 ballot.