"Maine, Why Not Washington?"

A reader writes:

HeyI know the vote in Maine is important but there is another repeal effort we are fighting here in Washington State that I am at a loss to understand why you don’t highlight as well. It is not marriage, per se, we are fighting for but an extension of domestic partner benefits that mandates total equality between straight and queer couples. From a local paper:

The yearly Washington Poll shows the statewide Referendum 71 for gay couples’ rights passing one week before the Nov. 3 election. The poll was conducted by a social research school at the University of Washington that has a track record of correctly forecasting election results. Its poll shows R-71 is winning by a 56 percent to 39 percent margin among registered voters. The edge was 57-38 among likely voters; likely voters were those who have sent in ballots already or said they voted in November 2007.
Referendum 71 asks voters to endorse or reject Senate Bill 5688, which state lawmakers approved and Gov. Chris Gregoire signed into law as the third installment of expanded rights for registered domestic partners. It would provide all remaining state-level rights of marriage to registered partners, including same-sex couples and heterosexual couples in which one partner is 62 or older.

This is huge.

I sure hope it passes, and helps cement a floor for equality in terms of benefits. I certainly don't intend to signal any ambivalence about the vote. But domestic partnership, even with equal rights and benefits, remains something other than marriage and the polls are not as close as they are in Maine. Hence my emphasis.