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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Their Own Worst Enemies

Posted by on Tue, May 26, 2009 at 7:27 PM

You may remember how sponsors of Referendum 71 whined two weeks ago that Governor Christine Gregoire was delaying their campaign by not signing the domestic-partnership bill into law. "Each day they have delayed signing the legislation is one less day we have for signature gathering. I'm certain they are aware of that," wrote campaign spokesman Gary Randall.

But who are they going to blame for the delay now?

This afternoon Larry Stickney, the campaign's other ringleader, filed a challenge to the ballot title of Referendum 71 in Thurston County Superior Court. May 29 would be the soonest date for a court hearing, says Secretary of State spokesman David Ammons, but June 5 or June 12 would be more likely. In other words, by filing this complaint, Stickney is losing up to 18 days to gather signatures. That would leave him only six weeks before the July 25 deadline to print petitions and gather 120,000 signatures.

According to the court file, Stickney wants the ballot question (as proposed by state Attorney General Rob McKenna) changed from this:

This bill would expand the rights, responsibilities, and obligations accorded state-registered same-sex and senior domestic partners to be equivalent to those of married spouses, except that a domestic partnership is not a marriage.

Should this bill be:

Approved ___
Rejected ___ this:

This bill would expand the rights, responsibilities, and obligations accorded state-registered same-sex and senior domestic partners to be equal to the rights, responsibilities, and obligations of married couples, except that domestic partnerships shall not be called marriage.

Should this bill be:

Approved ___
Rejected ___

So is a domestic partnership actually marriage but not called marriage, as Stickney argues? Or is it not marriage, as the original language suggests, because it's not actually a marriage? God only knows what Judge Thomas McPhee will say about the wording—whenever he gets around to the case, that is—but he may be unimpressed with one of the words in the complaint. Stickney's lawyer four times misspells the state Attorney General's last name as "McKinna."


Comments (8) RSS

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BombasticMO 1
Posted by BombasticMO on May 26, 2009 at 7:43 PM · Report this
Is there an English teacher in the house? Neither version makes sense beginning with the words "except that". What is written in the last part of the sentences is not an exception to what is written in the first part. If it said something like, "we will use the same name for all gay couple things and straight couple things except in the case of the act which will be called either domestic partnership or marriage," that would make sense.

Think about it this way: if the part beginning with "except that" was removed from each version, would the meaning of either be altered? If not, why is it there in the first place?

"Dogs and cats will be provided with all the same food, water, and toys, except that their fur is different colors."
Posted by Phil M on May 26, 2009 at 8:37 PM · Report this
Does anyone have any sense of how hard it is to collect 120K signatures? It seems like they could throw half a million at the problem and it would go away mighty quickly. Passing the initiative around all the mega churches in the state could probably gather that many signatures.
Posted by Mr John on May 26, 2009 at 8:41 PM · Report this
Here's how the game is played: Randall and Stickney file the referendum and start collecting donations from Christians across the state. They pay themselves hefty salaries as campaign consultants (a la Tim Eyman), find subtle ways to derail their own efforts but that seem to the stupid (i.e. their contributors) that they are fighting as hard as they can, and then when they don't get enough signatures, they bank the rest of the money for future campaigns.
Posted by Mason on May 26, 2009 at 8:48 PM · Report this
Baconcat 5
@3: Very hard.

"Passing the initiative around all the mega churches in the state could probably gather that many signatures"

Eyman promised Randall nearly as many signatures in 2006 by doing exactly that, and he failed miserably. Randall completely removed Eyman from his inner-circle for gross incompetence, even though Eyman has been the wunderkind of the petition circuit.

What's happening is Randall is dragging this through the media for as long as possible. He's getting that dastardly liberal media to pile on so that, in his inevitable "failure", he can easily amass a warchest to be first out of the gate next year AND get himself a sizable payday.

Randall knows that he has to leapfrog this one, and he knows that he can't brand this as "marriage" which was the only way he could narrow the gap. He failed and will fail in that respect, and he knows it. The ace he has, however, is agitating enough people to create a self-fulfilling prophecy of an over-involved and hyperactive "liberal media", the fastest way to extract money from supporters and lend a false sense of hope to pro-equality forces who will likely say "this is a great day in Washington, next stop is full equality!"

I'm suspecting at this point that he will let this one slip through the court and, oops, run out of time to run a petition. He will immediately turn around and begin work on next year, having out-raised liberal PACs that felt the need to focus on what might be instead of what will be.

He knows the real battle is full equality, and he knows the only way he can make it happen is by agitating olympia to the point of them jumping out on this. He'll give a false sense of victory and a hollow concession, but turn right around and declare his intent for next year. 2010 may very well be his last hope, and I wouldn't be surprised if he uses Swecker and Shea to force marriage to a vote in the legislature next session as early as possible, immediately throwing up a referendum in the opening weeks.

He's shaking the tree and most people are going to be caught unaware. I hope Murray is contemplating this. Unfortunately, the media and Randall's supporters are just plain jumping out of that tree. He'll get the cash, the support and a headstart on 2010.
Posted by Baconcat on May 26, 2009 at 9:02 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 6
@4 for the insightful win.
Posted by Will in Seattle on May 27, 2009 at 10:36 AM · Report this
Where's the list of all these suposed rights?
How/where do we find what is really at stake this 'go-round?

Posted by Who me? What'd I do? on May 27, 2009 at 11:36 AM · Report this
Geni 8
Filing a challenge to YOUR OWN initiative's ballot title kind of takes the cake for disingenuous bullshit. It makes it all too obvious that the whole damn thing is just blowing smoke up the right-wing voters' collective asses. It's a way for the likes of Stickney and Randall to get their hands on people's money and keep themselves employed as consultants. They never had any intention of getting this stupid POS passed. It's media flimflam.
Posted by Geni on May 27, 2009 at 12:18 PM · Report this

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