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Gay marriage referendum wording criticized

March 7, 2012 at 7:29 PM

SEATTLE, March 7 (UPI) -- Some Washington voters have argued a proposed ballot measure to overturn gay marriage in the state is biased for saying the law "redefines" marriage.

Gay-marriage supporters have said "redefine" is a loaded word that shows bias against the new same-sex marriage law, The Seattle Times reported Tuesday.

"The judge has to be concerned the referendum can be overturned if voters reject the law and inevitably there's a lawsuit that claims the language was biased," said Stewart Jay, a constitutional-law professor at the University of Washington. "There's far more neutral language that can be used. It seems like a political argument that should be avoided."

State lawyers -- who are crafting the language for a referendum on the law -- said the measure does indeed alter the definition of the word marriage.

Members of Preserve Marriage Washington, a group that is sponsoring the referendum, said to state that the law "redefines marriage is not masterful political messaging, but simply the truth.

Thurston Superior Court Judge Thomas McPhell will make an official ruling on the referendum's language Tuesday.

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