The main group fighting against Washington's same-sex marriage ballot measure, Preserve Marriage Washington, conceded Thursday afternoon, saying it believes Referendum 74 would be narrowly approved.
And updated vote totals released Thursday evening showed the gap widening in favor of the measure, with 52.44 percent approving and 47.56 percent rejecting it, according to the Secretary of State's office as of 4:44 p.m.
Joseph Backholm, Chairman of Preserve Marriage Washington, released this statement:
“With added results showing that we have not closed the gap, it now appears clear that Referendum 74 will be narrowly approved. We are disappointed in losing a tough election battle on marriage by a narrow margin. But while we are disappointed, we are not defeated. We are fighting for a cause that is true, and beautiful, and right—the sacred institution of marriage. It’s a cause worth fighting for, and we will continue to educate citizens and policymakers on the timeless truth that real marriage is the union of one man and one woman.
We knew this was not going to be an easy fight. Washington is a deep blue state and one of the most secular states in the country. Washington has a very high percentage of voters who never attend church, and polling showed that 80 percent of unchurched voters approved of Referendum 74. On top of that, our opponents had a giant financial advantage, outspending us by $10 million, so the odds became even more difficult. Plus, we were fighting Washington’s political establishment and news media—with The Seattle Times taking the unprecedented step of not just endorsing the referendum, but of actively campaigning for its approval. Nevertheless, we ran a strong campaign that we can be proud of—a campaign based on honesty and integrity.
Our opponents and some in the media will try to portray this election as a turning point, but it’s not a turning point to win on your home turf. The election results reflect the political and funding advantages our opponents enjoyed in this very liberal and secular state. The results show only that in a deep blue state, with a huge financial advantage, gay marriage activists can win—barely. Further, the results indicate that a significant percentage of Washington voters are troubled by redefining marriage. Washingtonians know that women and men are not interchangeable—that children need both a mother and a father—and this election does not represent a sea change in their understanding of that reality.
We are grateful for the support of tens of thousands of volunteers who stood for the timeless truth that real marriage is between a man and a woman.”
Preserve Marriage Washington is a coalition of community and faith groups and citizens who support marriage as the union of one man and one woman. For more information, visit www.PreserveMarriageWashington.com.
Washington gay marriage supporters declared victory Wednesday, saying they've crunched the numbers and that the "no" votes can't overcome the "yes" votes at this stage of the counting.
“This is a clear win,” said campaign manager Zach Silk, in a prepared statement on the Washington United for Marriage website.