The gay marriage opposition led by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) believe that the best course of action in derailing same-sex weddings is to mobilize like-minded detractors, fund expensive ad campaigns, and fight like hell to get the issue on the ballot -- here in Washington and across the country.
Here, NOM vows to spend $250,000 to punish the four state Senate Republicans -- Joe Fain of Auburn, Andy Hill of Redmond, Steve Litzow of Mercer Island and Cheryl Pflug of Maple Valley -- who crossed party lines to vote with Democrats in approving the bill earlier this week.
The Washington D-C.-based group also will assist in efforts to collect the needed 120,577 signatures by June 6 to get the measure -- all but a done deal in Olympia -- on the November ballot.
The Rev. Joe Fuiten, senior pastor of Cedar Park Assembly of God Church in Bothell, tells the Seattle Times that attorneys already are working to determine wording of the referendum.
"We are 100 percent sure there'll be a referendum, and there's a 99 percent chance we'll be successful in getting the signatures," Fuiten said.
At the same time, NOM intends to join the Washington campaign, notes the Times, "bringing an expertise and ability to coordinate grass-roots organizations -- some of the groups that two years ago tried unsuccessfully to repeal parts of the state's domestic partnership through Referendum 71.
Still, public support for gay marriage is steadily increasing, making the referendum process to thwart or overturn legislation a dicey proposition.
A 2011 national survey by the by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, among 1,504 adults, finds about as many adults now favor (45 percent) as oppose (46 percent) allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally.
Two years before, the survey showed that just 37 percent backed same-sex marriage while 5 percent were opposed. Opposition to same-sex marriage has declined by 19 percentage points since 1996, when 65 percent opposed same-sex marriage and only 27 percent were in favor.
Also, a March 2011 telephone-survey of 1,005 adults by ABC News and the Washington Post found that, for the first time, the majority of Americans favor same-sex marriage.
The showed that 53 percent of those polled supported same-sex marriage while 44 percent remained opposed; support was highest among younger Americans and lower among conservatives, Republicans, and evangelicals. Pollster Gary Langster describes this as a "milestone result that caps a dramatic, long-term shift in public attitudes."
Bottom line: The country's attitude toward gay marriage has grown far more liberal, and opponents seeking to draw up referendums to stop it have no more than a 50-50 chance -- at best. And those odds, as time goes on, are likely to increase.