Ask an Atheist with Sam Mulvey

Referendum 74 Passes! (and other things)

It is now widely believed that R74 will pass!  According to the Washington state election results and the Washington United for Marriage page, with 1.9 megaballots counted and 1.2 megaballots remaining to be counted, R74 leads 51.8% to 48.2%, with a 67,644 vote spread.   According to WU4M, it is statistically unlikely for R74 to fail:

With 60 percent of the vote counted, R74 already has the support of 65% of King County and is performing well in key Eastern Washington counties.  Simply put, it’s now impossible for opponents to overcome the 52-48% spread for R74.
Zach Silk, on the WU4M Page

If you’re curious about the hedging, Washington State has a voting system where most voters mail in their ballots rather than going into the polling places.   All ballots postmarked by election day are counted, so ballots are still filtering into the tabulation places.   But at this point, most of the remaining ballots are in places where Referendum 74 is doing well, so those ballots are expected to reflect the percentages as they stand now.

Marriage equality will be legal in Washington, but I doubt anyone expects the fight to keep religious referees out of the private lives of individuals to end anytime soon.   This is a win for civil rights, a win for the LGBT community, and I believe a win for the Atheism Visibility Movement as well.

Why a win for us?   Our acknowledged participation.  Seattle Atheists held a Flying Spaghetti Monster fundraiser,  which was a smashing success as well as a lot of fun.

Ask an Atheist hosted an online stream-a-thon, raising thousands of dollars, and our public participation was rejected by Washington United for Marriage.  When we spoke up about it, the atheism community responded, and WU4M responded with an alacrity I’ve never seen before.    That’s a win for Ask an Atheist, sure, but the fact that public atheist participation in public policy does not automatically condemn policymakers is good news for the whole community.

Something to remember in 2013 and beyond, I think.

Here are some random facts and figures from the election:

  • While R74 Passes, most counties in Washington did not pass it, including Pierce County, the home of Ask an Atheist.   I like to talk about how the Pacific Northwest is a sort of political fantasy land, but in many ways it’s just like anywhere else in the United States.
  • Marijuana decriminalization is set to pass by a wider margin than R74.  This has odd overtones I’d like to explore, if I only knew how.   Is there a population of religious believers who think being a stoner is A-OK, but a guy loving another guy means you go to hell?  Seems odd given the teetotaler bent of modern American fundamentalism.
  • Both of the respondents to the Ask an Atheist political quiz failed to gain their seats.  According to Google, Rocky Anderson received 34,521 votes nationally for his Presidential bid, and Mike Kreidler has a large lead on John R. Adams for Washington State Insurance Commissioner.   We’re considering following up with Anderson to see if he can better explain his answer regarding the all-important Prequel question.
  • The number of openly atheist legislators is once again 0: Pete Stark lost his reelection bid in CA.


How do you think the election turned out?   Let us know!

About the Author: Sam Mulvey

Sam Mulvey is a producer and the technical brain behind Ask an Atheist. He is a collector of vinegar varieties, vintage computers, antique radios, and propaganda.

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Thank you so much for supporting R74!


The decriminalizing of pot getting more votes isn’t all that surprising, is it? Many people are against marriage equality because their religion tells them to be, but let’s face it, a lot are just because of the ‘squick factor’. When I’ve argued with religious people about marriage equality, we go back and forth and sooner or later they say something along the lines of, ‘Besides, it’s gross’. Let me say right here that I think pretty much *all* sex is kinda gross, but I’m hugely in favor of civil rights. So people who just don’t want to think about gay… Read more »

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