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First R-71 Related Ad Out in Washington

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Equal Rights Washington created and is distributing the first television advertisement in Washington related to Referendum 71. The November ballot measure asks voters to approve or reject the expansion of domestic-partnership rights that was approved by the legislature and signed by Gov. Christine Gregoire this spring.

The one-minute ad features Charlene Strong, who lost her partner, Kate Fleming, in the Madison Valley flood of 2006. Charlene and her brother Jeff recall the difficulties she faced at the hospital and when making funeral arrangements because of limited legal protections for domestic partners.

The ad cannot specifically mention Referendum 71 because of its creator's nonprofit status, but Equal Rights Washington intends to spread the message far and wide.

"The Equal Rights Washington Education Fund, a nonprofit barred from investing much of its funds in electoral politics, can't spend money on ads about Referendum 71," according to The Stranger.

"Connie Watts, the director of ERWEF, says the group is running the ads 'all over' the state. They will air though the end of the week in Seattle, Walla Walla, Yakima, Tri Cities, Vancouver, and Bellingham," The Stranger reported.

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