Apparently the 'force' was not with Tim Eyman, who failed to turn in the necessary signatures to put Referendum 65 on the ballot. Therefore Washington's new law barring discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity will go into affect tomorrow.
"Tomorrow will be a proud day in Washington," said Governor Christine Gregoire, in a written statement. "In January, Washington took an affirmative stand to say to gay and lesbian individuals, moms and dads, sons and daughters, neighbors, co-workers and friends that, like all other people, they are free to work in an environment absent [of] discrimination. Tomorrow our words become law."
Eyman appeared at the Secretary of State's election office on Monday dressed in a Darth Vader outfit, but donned more humble attire when he made the announcement earlier today that the referendum's backers had failed. According to Eyman, 105,103 signatures had been collected, far short of the 112,440 signatures needed to qualify for the fall ballot.
The defeat was not only a blow to Eyman, who has made a career out of backing ballot measures, but to the network of conservative organizations, evangelical churches and radio stations who had backed the effort.
"This is a set back," said Gary Randall, President of the Faith & Freedom Network, an anti-Gay conservative organization in Washington State.
Representatives from other conservative organizations, such as the state chapter of the Christian Coalition and Restore America, an Oregon based conservative organization seeking to "mobilize and empower America's Christians in directing the moral, educational and political course of their state," were also present. Concerned Women of America, the Eagle Forum and Sound the Alarm were also thanked by Eyman for their efforts.
Randall said that his group may be back with an Initiative to the Legislature, which would require even more signatures than a referendum. Eyman's future participation seemed doubtful.
Photos courtesy of the Northwest Progressive Institute