Referendum 73 (or 74, I've been told both) has been filed. It is a Referendum to overturn SB 6239, a bill that has been signed into law by Governor Gregoire, but is on hold pending the outcome of the Referendum.
Referendum 73 (or 74) was crafted by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and was filed singularly by Joseph Backholm with FPIW on Monday.
The referendum will be processed by the state and will be available in the coming days.
I think it is probably a good thing that NOM is involved. They are a national organization and have been helpful and successful in other states. They say they need to raise several million dollars for this campaign.
However, I am disappointed that other leaders in the state were not included as signers on the referendum.
It does make a difference. It is important. It can be very important. Some will remember Referendum 65, some years ago, and the public fight that followed between two individuals. It was not productive. Frankly, it was embarrassing.
I, along with many others who have been planning and working toward the effort to overturn SB 6239, have advocated that Representative Matt Shea, Senator Val Stevens and Pastor Ken Hutcherson should have been included or have even been the only signers on the Referendum.
That was a unanimous feeling among a large coalition. In fact, that same coalition expressed no confidence and opposed the current arrangement by a vote.
It was an error to omit Senator Stevens, Representative Shea and Pastor Hutcherson.
When asked why they could not be included, NOM and Backholm said these others had not been "vetted" and may have said or done something in the past that would be harmful to the campaign."
They also said Focus on the Family would not participate financially under any other terms.
While it has been downplayed, who controls a referendum is important. It is not a matter of ego, it is a matter of maximizing the effort with the broadest possible coalition. It is also a matter of responsible stewardship and trust.
Larry Stickney was the signer on Referendum 71. In the strictest sense, he owned it. He did a marvelous job including everyone who was willing to support the effort, even though there were a few within the Christian community who actively and relentlessly worked to undermine it.
Had R-71 prevailed, there would have been no SB 6239, at least not this year.
Joseph Backholm, Joe Fuiten and those most closely involved with FPIW have the ultimate control over the most important decisions regarding the referendum campaign.
Why am I being so candid? I know I'm opening myself to the wrath and public criticism of adversaries, both within and without.
An unexpected number of personal email and phone calls yesterday caused me to prayerfully think about this issue, have an in depth conversation with our board and ultimately respond to our readers.
While disappointment and disgust were the topic of most calls and email that I received, there was concern and the questions, "How should we respond to this? What are you going to do?"
Here's what Faith and Freedom is going to do. And I'm asking our thousands of readers to do the same.
Please look past the egos, errors and omissions. And actions, attitudes and motives.
Marriage is too important to do otherwise.
If these things are allowed to become a focus, it will lead us to the least and lowest. We must seek the highest and best.
We must not in any way, for any reason, oppose this effort or even "sit it out silently."
We are going to support Referendum 73 (or 74) in every possible way. I'm asking you to do the same.
I have been asking for those who are willing to not only sign a petition, but willing to circulate petitions in their communities to sign up with Faith and Freedom. The response has been overwhelming. In fact, if everyone who has signed up so far collects a reasonable amount of signatures, we are nearly at the 127,000+ required for the referendum.
We are organizing leaders in various parts of the state. As soon as Joseph Backholm and NOM make the petitions available, we will be in touch with you and begin the process.
I believe other organizations are ready to do so as well.
We will also be asking you to sign the petitions to put I-1192 on the November ballot as well.
Both R-73 (or 74) and I-1192 have a very important function in defending marriage. If you want to know more about how each will work, please review 2 of my blogs from last week. They explain each.
I-1192 is explained in "How To Save Marriage" Feb. 9, 2012.
A Referendum is explained in "Saving Marriage---The Referendum" Feb. 10, 2012.
This is a morally historical moment in Washington State. I personally believe each of us will be held accountable for our actions or in-actions---our motives, and the way in which we respond to this challenge to natural marriage.
Let's act as though it all depends on us and pray as if it all depends on God---because it does. God will take care of all the other matters.
This is a spiritual matter, not a political one. Neither is it about building an organization or a mailing list. It's about the Kingdom of God and His righteousness on this earth.
If you have not yet joined us to circulate petitions, please do so now.
Be Vigilant. Be Discerning-Very Discerning. Be Prayerful. Be Active. Be Blessed.