Referendums are not that common in Washington State. They come about when a bill is passed into law and the people want to repeal that law.
To do so the people must gather signatures and put the measure on the ballot for a statewide vote. There is another way. The legislature itself can send an issue to the people for a vote.
Tonight the opportunity to send the gay marriage bill to the voters by way of a referendum was defeated on a vote of 26 to 23. There were Republican Senators who helped defeat the referendum. Senator Cheryl Phlug was one of them.
Just now, as I sit at my floor desk on the Senate floor ...there are more press in the wings than I have seen in years. Tonight we will vote in gay marriage and then the presses will roll. That is...the presses printing the referendum petitions. Repeal of gay marriage referendums will make there way out to the people to gather signatures.
Only half as many signatures are required in a referendum as in an initiative. 150,000 will do it. That is the only way that voters will have any say in the issue of protecting traditional marriage. The legislature did not want the voters to decide this important matter. I will vote no on the bill before us. I support one man and one woman in marriage.
The bill passed 28 to 21 and the galleries exploded with cheers and sustained clapping. 7:58 PM and now the final gavel.