Does It Matter if the Anti-Gay Signatures Collected in Washington Were Collected Fraudulently?

The hucksters Gary Randall and Larry Stickney claim they submitted thousands more signatures than necessary to put Washington State’s “everything but marriage” legislation up to a citizens’ vote in November. So what happens when there’s very clear evidence at least some of those John Hancocks were collected fraudulently?

Video of one signature collector shows him obviously lying to passersby about what the documents they’re signing actually represent.

At issue is Referendum 71, which would put the question of domestic partnership rights up to a statewide vote. Randall and Stickney’s minions, through Protect Marriage Washington, needed 120,577 signatures by Saturday to stay the law and keep it from going into effect until voters weigh in. But those signatures must be certified and valid.

This video, from, shows a man outside a Wal-Mart in Port Angeles, Wash., clearly misrepresenting the documents he’s asking folks to sign. The man said to one woman:

Did you get a chance to sign our petition? We’re giving you an opportunity to decided whether or not you are in favor of giving homosexual couples legal marriage licenses. Not just the same rights as married people, but a marriage license too. Do you have an opinion on that? Yes? No? Or don’t Care?

Except as the website notes:

The woman said yes, that she will sign, and he handed her the clipboard. It was obvious to me that she was signing what she thought was a petition in favor or giving same-sex couples marriage licenses. So I asked her if she supports same-sex marriage. She said that she did.

This type of fraud isn’t terribly surprising: It takes a lot of work to snag the 135,000+ signatures PMW claims it did, and we imagine these volunteers who want to keep gays as second-class will go to great lengths to get their way. If they’re already so unethical to keep gays from sharing pension benefits and inheritance rights, their moral line probably allows for plenty of other mischievousness.


Unfortunately, fraudulent signature gathering is not illegal in Washington state. The mentality is that one should read and know what they are signing. Of course, in reality, many people who are stopped in a parking lot don’t read the entire petition, they believe what the signature gatherer is telling them.

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  • ioni

    I just love the clever way he puts it with people!

  • Bill

    This is an all time low.

    Even for Heterosexuals.

  • REBELComx

    While it is absolutely horrendous, disgusting, and ethically detestable, it is also, unfortunately, perfectly legal in Washington to use such deception in order to get a petition signed. I’m curious as to why such an ethical dillema has never been addressed. You know damn well that if WE were to do something like this to benefit ourselves, there’d be hell to pay.

  • REBELComx

    And of course, some people will sign anything. Just look at that experiment where someone went to a public space and got people to sign a petition banning Hydrogen Dioxide by naming all the bad stuff that it could do (die from breathing it, causes rust, etc). But by using the full chemical name, most people didn’t realize they were banning WATER (H2O).

  • dantalion

    @REBELComx: Its on youtube, part of Penn And Teller’s Bullshit! The point wasn’t so much that some people will sign everything, but more so that normal, good intentioned people will simply not read or think when asked to sign a petition, however that wasn’t blatant fraud like this.

  • ioni

    “Would you like to vote on the matter of giving homosexual couples marriage licence?”

    Am I correct?

    So the fellows are just using the ambiguity of words to lure people into signing the proposition… Age old trick … still works!

  • REBELComx

    @dantalion: Oh I forgot that they had done that on their show. Penn and Teller were not the first to do that little experiment though. I’d read about people doing that several years before Bullshit.

  • cruiser

    Just as an FYI people it is also legal in Wa sTATE to used PAID signature gatherers regardless of their background. So heres to all of you convicted drug addicts, pedophiles, rapists etc, come to Wa and we’ll put you to work gathering signatures for useless petitions!

  • hyhybt

    It’s been done as a petition to eliminate “women’s suffrage” as well. Though I think that both that and the DHMO one show not so much that people will sign anything as that they think they think they understand better than they do.

  • Steve

    This actually suggests a tactic for people who want to derail any future petition drive. Suppose organization X starts a petition drive on issue Y, and you oppose their position on issue Y. A saboteur *could* sign up to gather signatures for that petition drive, and *could* gather a large number of invalid signatures, and few or no valid signatures. At some point, organization X decides to stop collecting additional signatures, and to turn in the ones they have gathered. IF those gathered signatures include too man invalid signatures, the petition will be rejected. The large number of invalid signatures gathered by the saboteur could make a difference.

    I would not suggest that such a tactic is ethical. It may even be illegal. But, I am pretty sure it would be possible.

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