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Measure approving same-sex marriage will pass in Washington state, foes say

By Lornet Turnbull, The Seattle Times –

SEATTLE — Opponents of same-sex marriage have conceded, saying it appears that Washington state’s Referendum 74 will pass.

Approval of the measure would make Washington the ninth state to approve gay marriage and the third to do so this week.

“With added results showing that we have not closed the gap, it now appears clear that Referendum 74 will be narrowly approved,” said Joseph Backholm, chairman of Preserve Marriage Washington, which worked to defeat the measure.

“We are disappointed in losing a tough election battle on marriage by a narrow margin. But while we are disappointed, we are not defeated.”

Backers of the measure declared victory on Wednesday.

Backholm pointed out that Washington is a very liberal state and one of the most secular in the country. He said the polling indicated 80 percent of “unchurched” voters approved of Referendum 74.

Their opponents, he said, had a substantial financial advantage and outspent his campaign by $10 million.

“In the most recent ballot count in Washington on Wednesday evening, Referendum 74 was still narrowly winning approval, 52 percent to 48 percent.

With incoming ballots from King County increasingly favoring the measure — 67.6 percent Wednesday, up from 65.5 percent on Tuesday evening — it seemed unlikely gay-marriage opponents would gain enough votes to win.

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