Continued from page 1

Mr. Gardner’s position has caused strain with longtime friends, political allies and his own family. Gov. Christine Gregoire, a Democrat and Roman Catholic, said she personally can’t support the measure but won’t actively work against it.

Mr. Gardner’s 46-year-old son, Doug, said he and his father didn’t talk for a while once it was clear he was opposed to the measure. While their relationship has improved, the younger Gardner said he’ll still “join the chorus” of voices opposed to Initiative 1000.

“I love him, I want the best for him,” Doug Gardner said. “But don’t make it easier for these people who are in a weak state to have an opt-out option.”

Critics, including many doctors and disability-rights advocates, say assisted-suicide laws could exploit depressed or vulnerable people who worry they’ve become a burden on their families.