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What Should LGBTs Do With The Names Of WA’s 138K Anti-Gay Petitioners?

Currently an emergency stay prevents the Washington Secretary of State from releasing the 138,000 names of those who opposed the statewide domestic partnership initiative known as Referendum 71. But that hasn’t stopped Seattle Weekly from publishing all the names in a huge downloadable file.

So now that we have all the names should we start Googling all of them to figure out who we need to boycott and reach out to?

Image via the Italian Voice

By:           Daniel Villarreal
On:           Oct 25, 2011
Tagged: , ,

  • 27 Comments
    • randy
      randy

      I would love to go to their houses and have sex on their front lawns.

      But seriously — that’s a great database. I would hold events specifically for them and invite them to meet actual gay people. Having a picnic? invite ‘em all! Having a wedding? Invite ‘em all!

      Our dearly departed Frank Kameny always said that our enemies can always change, and always hope that we can. Don’t meet hate with hate: Rather, meet hate with outreach and be an example of what you want them to be.

      Oct 25, 2011 at 3:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kurt
      Kurt

      We won, they lost. Its time to act like adults and move on. People should know for the future that signing a petition is a public act. There is no reason to take any action against them.

      Oct 25, 2011 at 3:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ray
      Ray

      Post the names on a website so they will be there for all eternity. Let their kids and grand kids go back and see what bigots they have in their families.

      Oct 25, 2011 at 3:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Fodolodo
      Fodolodo

      Nothing.

      Oct 25, 2011 at 4:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mr. Enemabag Jones
      Mr. Enemabag Jones

      Find out who on the list owns a local business, and boycott the business.

      Oct 25, 2011 at 4:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Elloreigh
      Elloreigh

      Nothing. Much more interested in knowing who is bankrolling the political organizations behind these movements than who was duped into signing a petition.

      Oct 25, 2011 at 4:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • SimonWesheralls44@yahoo.com
      SimonWesheralls44@yahoo.com

      The actions of the Seattle Weekly were despicable . They released the names as an obvious way to intimidate
      voters who , whether you agree with them or not, have a democratic right to their opinions .

      We have certain freedoms in this country . We believe in the right of people to vote the way they want to , according to the dictates of their

      consciences . Trying to harass, intimidate, or yes, bully, people who don’t agree with you is un American

      and BTW, hypocritical.

      Oct 25, 2011 at 4:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Erik
      Erik

      @SimonWesheralls44@yahoo.com:

      We are not talking about voting or voters. When you sign a petition to place legislation on the ballot, you are acting as a legislator. You do not have the right to legislate in anonymity. How you ultimately vote on a measure, if a petition drive is successful, is protected by the secret ballot. But whether you petitioned to place the legislation on the ballot in the first place, is not, and never will be, an anonymous act.

      But don’t just take my word for it, that was the 8-1 ruling by the Supreme Court last year in Doe v. Reed.

      Oct 25, 2011 at 5:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 3 · Ray wrote, “Post the names on a website so they will be there for all eternity. Let their kids and grand kids go back and see what bigots they have in their families.”

      Bad idea – people who sign these petitions are not necessarily bigots – some of them are tricked or simply preoccupied. You know, you go into a supermarket and some guy tries to get you to sign a petition, maybe telling you it is for the benefit of married couples. You think, “that sounds nice” so you sign it, not realizing that they actually wanted to do something quite different. If preoccupied (or maybe just clueless), you may not realize that the term they used was a code word/phrase for discriminating against gays and lesbians, and the sentence at the top of a petition is often not enough to tell you what the petition is really for. Don’t discount distraction either – someone hands some hapless guy a petition while he’s with a three year old throwing a temper tantrum and a 5 year old who is trying to run off and explore the area, and he ends up signing it without really thinking about it because he’s already got too much to handle.

      Also, some people may think it deserves to be voted on, even if they plan to vote against it, and some just sign these things because they don’t want to feel like they are being rude to the guy gathering the petition, and don’t really pay much attention to what the petition is for. Of course, the real bigots will sign it too.

      If you want to embarrass people, concentrate on the ones who gave non-trivial donations. Without the money, a petition won’t go anywhere, and people don’t shell out $1000 just to be polite.

      Oct 25, 2011 at 5:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Erik
      Erik

      @SimonWesheralls44@yahoo.com:

      I’d just like to be real clear on this. When you sign a petition, like the one in this case, you are signing a legislative petition. What does “legislative petition” mean? It means you are petitioning the government to place legislation before the voters in a general election. You are using your right, as an individual, to directly propose legislation. Your signing of a legislative petition is NOT the same as voting. You do not have the right to legislate in anonymity. There is no precedent for keeping legislative petitions secret. If you want to petition the government to pass specific legislation, you must do so publicly. Your signature, on a legislative petition, is public record.

      Yes, we do “have certain freedoms in this country.” Legislating in anonymity is not one of them.

      Oct 25, 2011 at 5:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DavyJones
      DavyJones

      @SimonWesheralls44@yahoo.com: You’re off your rocker.

      First of all; nothing in the Seattle Weekly’s article was ‘overtly intimidating’. In fact, there is nothing what-so-ever in the article which would suggest they meant to intimidate or even offend anyone listed in the petitions.

      Second, and more importantly; We are not talking about listing voting records, we are talking about people who signed a legislative petition. Doing is a public display of support for a particular piece of legislation to be put on the ballot. The names of people who sign such petitions are always made public, and those who choose to sign them, should have to stand by their signature. Indeed, without making this information public, how could anyone trust the validity of the petition in the first place; anyone could claim to have collected the requisite signatures, and no one would be able to contest it.

      If someone feels strongly enough on an issue to request that it be made into law; they should have no problem defending that position from others who disagree. Especially in this case, where the people who disagree are far more likely to be directly impacted by the law…

      Oct 25, 2011 at 6:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DavyJones
      DavyJones

      @B: People who are that casual with our democracy, and the laws that govern us deserve to have their names written twice as large. Someone who has a differing opinion, and stands by it deserves some (albeit limited) respect for their convictions. Someone who is willing to sign their name to advance a law without paying attention to what they are signing is a dingbat and should be ashamed.

      Oct 25, 2011 at 6:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • WillBFair
      WillBFair

      @Elloreigh: You took the words right out of my mouth. But we’ll never find out who they are. Financial interests have a ton of power, much of which depends on their being invisible. And they’ll protect themselves, with lawyers, bribed politians, judges, endless appeals, etc…

      Oct 25, 2011 at 6:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      Nahhh, enough reaching out. Just boycott. There are still racists in the south that all the “Reaching out” to won’t change. What has changed them is the fact that they can no longer LEGALLY discriminate.

      Thats what we need to worry about. Get the laws taken care of, worry about the touchy feelie hugging later.

      Oct 25, 2011 at 6:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • blatherer
      blatherer

      Signing a petition is the same as publishing your name, address and views on a certain subject on the front page of a newspaper. People need to understand that. If they are going to become involved in public policy, their rights to privacy in regards to that participation are no longer valid.

      Oct 25, 2011 at 6:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • kylew
      kylew

      @Cam: I agree Cam. Reaching out presupposes that these are reasonable, logical people. They clearly are not. When someone will not play nice by choice, they have to be forced, or excluded from the schoolyard.

      Oct 25, 2011 at 7:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • kylew
      kylew

      @SimonWesheralls44@yahoo.com: Simon the names are already legally in the open. All the newspaper did was make it easy for any interested parties to find them. If people don’t want to be thought of as bigots, don’t sign petitions demonstrating that they are.

      And as for being tricked into signing B, one of the first things people learn as adults, is to always check what you’re signing. If some of these signatories dd not check, then they can consider this a moderately inexpensive reminder of the importance of doing so.

      But given the fact that they are in the form of 3gb of scanned images, I think it’s still likely to be some very considerable while before any average joes on the list need to worry about their friends discovering their bigotry or stupidity.

      Oct 25, 2011 at 7:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • kylew
      kylew

      @Erik: Erik, thank you for clarifying this. Concepts of law can be obscure enough at the best of times, but when it’s another country’s legal system, then it is doubly difficult.

      Oct 25, 2011 at 7:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dan
      Dan

      GLBTA people who work in the banking industry can easily tell you who the main donors are to all these groups. The papertrail is always there and considering how GLBTA people are everywhere it is impossible to hide the info from those who really want to know. It seems like in the battle for human rights protection, GLBTA people are underestimating their abilities and options; GLBTA people seem the only group so far willing to accept their human rights being violated by a relatively small group of corrupt politicians, religious leaders, and wealthy donors.

      Oct 25, 2011 at 8:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 12 · DavyJones wrote, “@B: People who are that casual with our democracy, and the laws that govern us deserve to have their names written twice as large. Someone who has a differing opinion, and stands by it deserves some (albeit limited) respect for their convictions. Someone who is willing to sign their name to advance a law without paying attention to what they are signing is a dingbat and should be ashamed.”

      You mean like the “hamburger flipper” who hears “marriage” and thinks they are going to provide him with a spouse? Seriously, though, I’ve had petition gatherers seem a bit annoyed with me when I demanded to see the text of an initiative before signing a petition for it, and that means giving me a paper copy, or at least a URL, so I could look at it later – I wanted the full text, not a summary that can be misleading, and wasn’t going to read through all that legalese immediately.

      BTW, check out http://blog.seattlepi.com/stepforward/2011/01/24/bill-to-prevent-fraud-in-paid-signature-gathering/ for a good reason not to try to publicly embarrass people who signed a petition – it seems that there were paid signature gatherers who were basically lying about what an initiative was for. One of these liars was caught on video. It was out and out fraud – from what the guy said (and you can hear him on the video) he was obviously lying and he was pretty belligerent when questioned about his misrepresentations: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47u2m4hH0SQ has the full exchange.

      Rather than go around trying to embarrass members of the public, it would be far more useful to take these liars and throw them into jail for fraud.

      Oct 25, 2011 at 9:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      @B: Said…

      “Rather than go around trying to embarrass members of the public, it would be far more useful to take these liars and throw them into jail for fraud.”
      ____________________

      If they are signing a petition it is their responsibility. If they are embarrassed and want to claim that the signature was fraudulently obtained, fine, it just makes our case stronger. But I’m not going to advocate changing our laws because a small percentage of people are too stupid to read what they are signing.

      Oct 25, 2011 at 10:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 19 · Dan wrote, “GLBTA people who work in the banking industry can easily tell you who the main donors are to all these groups.”

      … and may go to jail if they do. See http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/1030.html for starters (this just covers the case where a computer is used to retrieve the information).

      Also http://www.cybercrime.gov/schellersent.htm : “SACRAMENTO  As part of a continuing series of identity theft and bank fraud prosecutions, United States Attorney John K. Vincent announced that SUZANNE MARIE SCHELLER, 21, of Sacramento, was sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge Garland E. Burrell, Jr. in Sacramento to a term of thirty-six months probation, in connection with obtaining confidential customer account information and providing it to another individual outside the financial institution.”

      Also check out http://www.oracle.com/us/products/middleware/identity-management/wp-safeguarding-financial-privacy-207261.pdf .

      Oct 25, 2011 at 10:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 21 · Cam wrote, “@B: Said… ‘Rather than go around trying to embarrass members of the public, it would be far more useful to take these liars and throw them into jail for fraud.’ If they are signing a petition it is their responsibility. If they are embarrassed and want to claim that the signature was fraudulently obtained, fine, it just makes our case stronger. But I’m not going to advocate changing our laws because a small percentage of people are too stupid to read what they are signing.”

      Wrong, Cam. To give yo one example, look at http://law.justia.com/codes/connecticut/2011/title9/chap151/Sec9-368c.html :

      2011 Connecticut Code
      Title 9 Elections
      Chapter 151 Elections: Prohibited Acts and Penalties
      Sec. 9-368c. Misrepresentation of contents of a petition.
      Sec. 9-368c. Misrepresentation of contents of a petition. (a) No person shall intentionally misrepresent the contents of a petition circulated under title 9.

      (b) Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be guilty of a class D felony.

      If you ask a signature gatherer what the petition is about and hes/she lies, the signature gatherer has committed a felony. It is not reasonable to ask the average person to cross check this stuff when there is a law on the books that clearly places a responsibility on the signature gatherer to not misrepresent the petition. There’s a cogent reason for such laws – nobody would sign anything if they can’t ask a few simple questions and get an honest answer, particularly if they would be harassed by others if they were fooled. Keep in mind that you wouldn’t be able to get a gay-rights petition signed either under those circumstances.

      Oct 25, 2011 at 10:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ken
      Ken

      @Dan: All people in the financial industry, regardless of race, orientation, religion etc., have a fiduciary responsibility to their clients. And one of these responsibilities is to respect and guard client confidentiality. Being LGBT does not weaken that, even if the client is a bigot.

      Oct 26, 2011 at 4:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael Kirwan
      Michael Kirwan

      The first and most important thing to do with this list is to check and make sure the signatures are all valid and that the names match up with living people. This is a great opportunity to expose the fraudulent tactics of the queer-haters. Next, check and see if you know any of these people and ascertain whether or not forgery or duplicity was involved in getting their names listed. If some prominent business owners are represented then an appeal of some sort should be made before boycotting is threatened. Everyday schmoes…forget them. They’re everywhere. They’re probably beyond reach and enthralled by some silver-tongued con artist preacher.

      Oct 27, 2011 at 3:46 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Robin
      Robin

      Make them eat gherkins; that’ll flush ‘em out.

      Oct 27, 2011 at 4:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eatshit
      Eatshit

      Make them heroes.

      Dec 12, 2011 at 11:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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