Washington Bigots Lose Right To Hide Names On Petition

This is EXACTLY how it should be when it comes to publicizing the names of those who seek political change through petitions.

There are those who would try to hide their political agenda of stripping the civil rights of others by denying public access to signed petitions.  These people should never find refuge behind such a flimsy maneuver.  If one has enough bile to put their name on a petition to deny gay civil rights, they should also have enough backbone to let the world know they are bigots.  If not, then do not sign the petition!  Period.

Voter petitions that put anti-gay Referendum 71 on the ballot must be made
public by the Secretary of State’s office, a federal judge in Tacoma ruled on

U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle ruled that the group Protect Marriage
Washington is not entitled to an exemption from the state’s Public Records Act.
The case, Doe v. Reed, earlier reached the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Doe (plaintiffs) has only supplied evidence that hurts rather than helps its
case,” Judge Settle, a George W. Bush appointee, wrote in his ruling.

Secretary of State Sam Reed described Settle’s decision as a victory for open
government with national implications. “Many states have initiatives and
referendums,” he said. “In all but one, signatures are public records. If
(plaintiffs) had been successful in Washington, they would have taken this

Referendum 71 was an effort to roll back the state’s domestic partnership,
aka “everything but marriage,” law defining rights of same-sex couples. The
state voted in 2009 to affirm and keep the law in place.

The Supreme Court sided with those who wanted the petitions released, but
sent the case back to Judge Settle for evaluation of specific claims made by

The judge minced no words, rejecting plaintiffs’ arguments that disclosure
would subject to harassment or persecution those who signed R-71 petitions.

“Doe has not supplied competent evidence or adequate authority to support its
claims that R-71 signers constitute a fringe organization with unpopular or
unorthodox beliefs or one that is seeking to further ideas that have been
historically and pervasively rejected and vilified by both this country’s
government and its citizens,” he wrote.

The Supreme Court, in an 8-1 ruling, said likewise: U.S. Supreme Court
Justice Antonin Scalia, in a memorable opinion, argued that public discourse
should be wide open, unrestrained and even rough at times.

“There are laws against threats and intimidation; and harsh criticism, short
of unlawful action, is the price our people have traditionally been willing to
pay for self-governance,” Scalia wrote.

“Requiring people to stand up in public for their political acts fosters
civic courage, without which democracy is doomed,” he added

2 thoughts on “Washington Bigots Lose Right To Hide Names On Petition

  1. Patrick

    Interestingly, on Madison lawmaker has proposed legislation–most of which I don’t agree with–which would force petition circulators to disclose who they are, where they are from, and who is paying them. I hope you would likewise support this act.

    Let the blacklisting begin!

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