OLYMPIA, Wash. —
Supporters of gay marriage in Washington state said Monday that they raised more than $950,000 last month for the campaign to uphold the state’s new law, which is currently on hold pending the outcome of a November ballot measure.
The announcement by Washington United for Marriage comes a day before a deadline for initiative campaigns to file their monthly campaign finance reports with the state Public Disclosure Commission.
Among the donations were $100,000 each from Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer and co-founder Bill Gates.
Referendum 74 was certified for the ballot last month after gay marriage opponents turned in more than 240,000 signatures, far more than the minimum of 120,577 valid voter signatures required.
The referendum seeks to overturn the law passed earlier this year allowing same-sex marriage in the state. That law was passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire in February. The law was supposed to take effect June 7 but was put on hold once the signatures were turned in. R-74 asks voters to either vote “yes” to uphold the law, or “no” to overturn it.
As of Monday, Washington United for Marriage said it had raised more than $2 million for the campaign to fight back attempts to overturn the law. Preserve Marriage Washington has raised more than $135,000, according to the most recent numbers with the Public Disclosure Commission, though the money race is expected to heat up significantly in the coming months.
Phone and email messages left with Preserve Marriage Washington, the group behind the referendum seeking to overturn the law, were not immediately returned Monday.
Same-sex marriage is currently legal in New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C. Maryland legalized gay marriage this year as well, but that state is also poised to have a public vote this fall. In Maine, voters will decide on an initiative to approve same-sex marriage three years after a referendum overturned a law passed by the Maine Legislature. And in Minnesota, voters will decide whether
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