OLYMPIA (AP) — Supporters of gay marriage in Washington declared victory Wednesday, saying they don't see a way for their opponents to prevail as votes continue to trickle in on Referendum 74.
"The numbers point to victory," said Zach Silk, a spokesman for Washington United for Marriage. "We're really feeling good."
The referendum asked Washingtonians to approve or reject a state law legalizing same-sex marriage that lawmakers passed earlier this year. That law was signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire but has been on hold pending the election's outcome.
With just over half of the expected ballots counted Wednesday night, R-74 was passing with 52 percent of the vote. Counties were expected to post additional results Thursday. Because Washington is a vote-by-mail state, and ballots only had to be postmarked by Tuesday, votes will continue to trickle in throughout the week.
The measure was losing in 31 of the state's 39 counties. But it had its strongest lead — 66 percent of the vote — in King County, which holds about a third of the state's voters.
Silk said he was confident supporters would hold or build on their current lead, and that Washington state would join Maryland and Maine as the first states to pass gay marriage by popular vote.