After the Washington State Senate voted in favor of a bill allowing same-sex marriage in the state on Wednesday, proponents of preserving the definition of traditional marriage have vowed to fight the measure by forcing a referendum and introducing legislation of their own.
The National Organization for Marriage said it would fund the campaigns of challengers to the seats of four Republican senators who crossed party lines to vote in favor of the bill. NOM will also team with local pro-family groups to collect the 120,577 signatures needed to force the issue to a referendum on the November ballot.
NOM President Brian Brown said the organization has successfully removed Republican legislators who voted in favor of same-sex marriage bills in the past and promised to attack Washington lawmakers with similar vengeance and great fervor.
"Washington legislators may think it's politically fashionable to follow Hollywood over the cliff, but they will soon learn there are consequences to their actions," Brown said in a statement obtained by The Christian Post.
"Maine voters vetoed their gay marriage law and then a year later threw the legislators out of office," Brown continued. "In Iowa, voters kicked three judges off their state Supreme Court for deciding to impose same-sex marriage. And in New Hampshire, voters also ended the careers of legislators who voted for gay marriage."
"The same thing will happen in Washington state," Brown said.
Meanwhile, Washington attorney Stephen Pidgeon plans to introduce a referendum initiative to define marriage as that which consists of one man and one woman. Pidgeon needs 241,153 signatures to force the referendum.
"We have a tremendous amount of enthusiasm about the initiative. People are gearing up, and we're going to move ahead strongly, and I believe quickly," Pidgeon told The Vancouver Sun. "We already have hundreds of churches that have already pledged thousands of signatures."
Pidgeon says he plans to work with the Alliance Defense Fund to collect signatures in the state, but acknowledges that the more feasible recourse is to send the current same-sex marriage bill to referendum.
Major Washington-based corporations like Nike, Microsoft and Starbucks endorsed the bill last month, which has drawn the ire of pro-family groups across the country.
Pastor Steven Andrew, President of USA Christian Ministries, said he believes the entire Christian community should be angered by the high-profile endorsements and should boycott Starbucks in particular.
"Christians are upset with Starbucks for turning against God, but we are glad to know that Starbucks doesn't pretend to be for Christians," Andrew said via the group's website, invoking Leviticus 18:22 which says, "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination."
"This boycott is important because God blesses those who obey Him and judges those who don't obey Him (2 Chronicles 19:2)," he added.
The Senate approval of the same-sex marriage bill late Wednesday night effectively cleared the final obstacle to becoming the seventh state to redefine traditional marriage.
The Senate voted 28-21 in favor of the bill. The bill's supporters had long viewed the Senate as the biggest hurdle to pass as the state's House of Representatives and Gov. Christine Gregoire have both expressed support for legalizing same-sex marriage.
Amendments to the bill ensure that religious organizations, including places of worship, faith-based social agencies and mission organizations will neither be required nor penalized if they choose to deny participation in or solemnization of same-sex marriage ceremonies.
Six states and Washington, D.C. currently allow same-sex marriage. New Jersey, Maine, Maryland and others are strongly considering similar legislation this year.