By Jerry Cornfield
Republican Rob McKenna, who polls show is currently leading the race for governor, is making clear this week he will vote against legalizing gay marriage if the issue reaches the ballot in November.
McKenna, the state’s two-term attorney general, has said he backed a 2009 expansion of the state’s domestic partnership law known as “everything but marriage.” But he isn’t bending on his belief that the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman should remain the law.
Now, with the Legislature poised to pass a gay marriage bill and Gov. Chris Gregoire ready to sign it, he was asked Wednesday if he’d vote to repeal the law via a referendum.
“I will vote to maintain the current law and the current definition of marriage,” McKenna told C.R. Douglas of Q13 Fox.
The state Democratic Party pounced on McKenna’s comments Thursday.
“McKenna has attempted to deflect criticism of his opposition to marriage equality by saying that it is an issue that should go before voters – and now we know how he will vote,” read a prepared statement.
Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, the leading Democratic candidate for governor, backs the gay marriage legislation and wrote in an op-ed posted online Tuesday that he’d fight against its repeal.
“No politician should deny any of my fellow Washingtonians the right to marry,” he wrote. “The rights and responsibilities of marriage are civil, they are legal, and now it is time that they be made equal.”