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Referendum 74, Washington State Anti-Gay Marriage Measure, Qualifies For Ballot (UPDATED)

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Joseph Backholm, the chair of Preserve Marriage Washington, carries one of the first boxes of petitions for Referendum 74 into the Secretary of State's office to stop Washington's gay marriage law Wednesday, June 6, 2012, in Olympia, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Joseph Backholm, the chair of Preserve Marriage Washington, carries one of the first boxes of petitions for Referendum 74 into the Secretary of State's office to stop Washington's gay marriage law Wednesday, June 6, 2012, in Olympia, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Washington State's same-sex marriage law is headed back into the hands of voters.

The Associated Press reports that Referendum 74, an anti-gay marriage measure, has netted enough verified signatures to qualify for a November 2012 ballot. In total, 247,331 opponents went against the law, passing the minimum of 120,577 needed.

Back in February, Gov. Chris Gregoire (D) signed a bill into law making Washington the seventh U.S. state to allow same-sex marriage.

"I'm proud our same-sex couples will no longer be treated as separate but equal," said Gregoire, praising the day as one "that historians will mark as a milestone for equal rights."

The law was set to go into effect on June 7, but those hundreds of thousands of signatures put the initiative on hold.

According to Washington State's official elections & voting website, if a majority chooses yes on the November ballot, the same-sex marriage law will go into effect on Dec. 6, 2012. If a majority votes to reject the measure, the law will fall.

This post has been updated to reflect additional Referendum 74 information.

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