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September 1, 2009 at 3:00 PM

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Constantine, Hutchison back "everything but marriage" law

Posted by Bob Young

In the race for King County executive, Dow Constantine has tried to paint Susan Hutchison as a conservative whose values are out of sync with local voters.

But when it comes to Referendum 71, the November referendum on the state's "everything but marriage" law, Constantine and Hutchison agree.

They both want to keep the law, which grants a wide range of benefits to same-sex couples, in place.

Constantine sent out a statement Monday evening after the Secretary of State's office announced that backers of R-71, who want to overturn the state law, appeared to have collected enough signatures to put the referendum on the ballot.

"Everyone in a free society must have the same rights: for that reason I invite people across Washington State to join me in working to support the passage of Referendum 71," Constantine said in his statement. A "yes" vote would retain the law.

Hutchison did not issue a similar public statement. But Jordan McCarren, her campaign manager, said "she does not wish to overturn the law" and that Hutchison would vote in November to keep it in place.

McCarren went on to say Hutchison is "perfectly happy" to make her views known but he doesn't expect her to campaign for the law, saying it's not directly relevant to the county executive's job.

Bill Dubay, a longtime gay activist and county employee, said he was pleased to hear about Hutchison's stance.

"Good for her. We need all the candidates running any place in this state to clearly state the outcome they desire," Dubay said.

Clearly stating that desired outcome can be tricky for candidates because of how a referendum works.

Backers of R-71, meaning those have worked to put it on the ballot and repeal that law's benefits, want voters to mark "no" on their ballots. Those who want to keep the law would vote "yes."

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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Jim Brunner
Covers politics.

Keith Ervin
Covers the Eastside.

Andrew Garber
Covers politics and state government from Olympia.

Emily Heffter
Covers local government.

Mike Lindblom
Covers transportation.

Kyung Song
Covers politics and regional issues from Washington, D.C.

Lynn Thompson
Covers Seattle City Hall.

Bob Young
Covers King County and urban affairs.