Arkansas

Did You Support Gay Adoption Ban? Congrats: You’ve Been Outed!

knowthyneighbor

Thought the public disclosure requirements for Prop 8 donors was an invasion of privacy? Sorry, shamed conservatives, but you’re facing another supposed violation! Arkansans who last year signed petitions to put a gay adoption ban on the state ballot are seeing their names posted on the Internet. All 83,000 of them.

On KnowThyNeighbor.org — which has previously posted names from similar anti-gay efforts in Florida, Massachusetts, and Oregon — anyone can find the names of petition signers who helped get the “no unmarried singles” law passed. While it also affects single heteros, the ban was undoubtedly aimed at gay moms and dads.

Naturally, conservatives are pissed their identities are being made public. “This is pure intimidation,” says the Family Council’s director Jerry Cox. “Everyone who looks at this Web site can see this is an effort on the part of radical gay organizations to intimidate citizens into not exercising their rights.”

Only problem? Their identities were already public. Signing a petition to support a ballot measure means your name becomes part of the public record. And that’s how it should be. Any citizen who wants to influence public policy should be known to her constituents. It’s that very transparency that lends some legitimacy to this thing we call democracy.

But the Family Council is threatening to litigate the matter. And they may have some standing.

[…] legislation passed during this year’s legislative session limiting information that can be made public about concealed-carry permit holders.

Act 1291 of 2009 keeps the names and zip codes of concealed carry permit holders public but exempts other information from the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act. The original legislation would have shielded all information about permit holders from the FOI law.

“If the Legislature can protect the identities of concealed carry permit holders, the Legislature should be able to protect people who sign petitions,” Cox said.

In the meantime, get to know your hateful Arkansas neighbors.