Washington state’s most expensive election year in history neared its grand finale Tuesday, with voters deciding who to choose in one of the country’s most competitive governor’s races and whether to legalize marijuana and gay marriage — two initiatives that have been backed by big money and names.
Marijuana legalization, gay marriage and a Republican governor are just three of the five major issues with this year’s election.
Bill and Melinda Gates have donated $500,000 to the campaign to uphold the state’s gay marriage law.
The campaign to uphold the state’s gay marriage law raised $2.8 million in cash contributions over the past six weeks.
Referendum 74 asks people to either approve or reject the state’s new law legalizing same-sex marriage. That law, passed earlier this year, is on hold pending next month’s vote.
The Seattle-based company sent out an email Thursday morning to its 56,000 employees, saying “is our belief that our gay and lesbian employees are entitled to the same rights and protections marriage provides under the law as all other employees.”
The group fighting to overturn Washington’s gay marriage law started running its first TV ads in the state on Thursday.
According to filings posted this week, Washington United for Marriage has raised a total of $7.4 million in its campaign, compared to the more than $525,000 raised by Preserve Marriage Washington, which is trying to overturn the new law.
The group seeking to overturn Washington’s gay marriage law has changed its website instructions to churches that want to raise money for the effort, but state campaign finance officials say that the language is still not in compliance with state law.
The state’s campaign finance watchdog says the state’s Catholic churches can’t collect donations from parishioners for the campaign seeking to overturn the state’s gay marriage law.