Supreme Court Said Protect Marriage Washington Must Release Ref 71’s Names. Oh, This Isn’t Over?

When the Supreme Court ruled 8-1 last month Gary Randall and Larry Stickney’s Protect Marriage Washington must turn over the 138,000 names that helped put Referendum 71 on Washington State’s ballot, because doing so would not violate anybody’s First Amendment rights, the justices said the group could still block the release with a narrow exception. Which is exactly what they’re trying to do in court right now.

Doe v. Reed may have reached the nation’s top court, but PMW’s attorney James Bopp Jr. (pictured) is taking it back to federal Judge Benjamin Settle, who in September granted PMW’s request to block the legally mandated disclosure, reports the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Dave Ammons, spokesman for Secretary of State Sam Reed, said Tuesday the new federal court motion asks for either a preliminary injunction against releasing the petitions or a temporary restraining order for the same purpose.

[…] Deputy Solicitor General Bill Collins, who is representing the Secretary of State in the ongoing Doe v. Reed litigation, reports that U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle has dismissed all pending motions in the R-71 public records case. He will await the official paperwork from the U.S. Supreme Court regarding its recent 8-1 opinion in the case and transferring jurisdiction back to his courtroom. At that point, Protect Marriage Washington will be able to re-file fresh motions to block release of the R-71 petitions.

Which means, for now, the names remain secret. They should’ve just written them down in disappearing ink and saved us all the trouble.

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #politics #doev.reed #domesticpartnerships stories and more


  • edgyguy1426

    I wonder how much this is costing them.

  • slobone

    Of course this is a major gay issue because… why was that again? Oh yeah, you all want to get revenge on the people who voted against gay marriage. Most likely that just means hating on them a lot, because boycotts tend to peter out pretty quickly.

    The real problem is, the Supreme Court ruling cuts both ways. It also means that people who contribute to the PRO-gay side of an initiative are subject to having their names published. And unfortunately I’m pretty sure there are more publicity-shy people on our side of the fence than on the other side…

  • Cam


    Look, if things are not brought into the light then nothing gets done. If Constance McMillian hadn’t complained that school in Mississippi would have been able to bar her from the prom. If Gays in the military hadn’t bombarded Congress and risked coming out in public this year there would have been no movement on DADT.

    It is already public information which party you are registered in, which political candidate or causes you donate money to etc… This group is asking for a SPECIAL right to hide their members.

  • ForeverGay

    @slobone: It’s a major gay issue because once again haterosexuals are trying to change the law so gay people are disadvantaged. They want haterosexuals to be able to take away gay people’s rights with no legal constraints like forging other people’s names on petitions. The signatures are public record.

  • John Kusters

    @slobone: No fear here. Publish my name on anything initiative I support or any cause to which I give money. I’m not afraid of transparency like the foes of marriage equality are. If I have a cause, I’m not afraid to stand up for it.

    What are they so afraid of? Being called out on their opposition to equality? They talk about intimidation and bullying, but I don’t see many of them being attacked physically, or even murdered, because of their stand on this issue. That can’t be said for the pro-equality side, where attacks are much more frequent and much more dire than having signs stolen.

  • Sheldon

    I love that the right-wingers claim we want “special rights” and then they challenge it when the court tells them that they are subject to the law, just like everyone else. But no, they want the special right to be able to hide their bigotry. Hypocrisy at it’s FINEST!

  • Ugh

    The Supreme Court’s decision did NOT say anything of the kind.
    (1) Protect Marriage Washington is not required to disclose anything. The issue is whether the State of Washington may disclose the names.
    (2) The Supreme Court only ruled out the facial challenge to the law at issue, and the as-applied challenge remains. This is thus not contrary to the Supreme Court ruling at all.

    Queerty really needs a legal correspondent or someone who won’t blatantly misstate the law.

  • Nom

    reminds me of the people with the pointy hoods. if you’re so damn proud of your hate, why not show your face?

  • Jon (not that one)

    I just remember when the mormon kids showed up on my front porch asking me to sign their “protect marriage” petition and asking for donations. . .I basically pulled the old “get out of my yard!” cranky old man defense. But then something interesting happened. . .they got worse treatment from all of our neighbors.

    The lawsuit is a public disclosure issue. These guys can cry “intimidation” all they want, however, I just want to see the transparency from State Law that allows us to know that our names weren’t falsely added to the pay-for names database being collected by Gary(carpetbagger)Randall and Larry(wackjob)Stickney.

  • Brian Murphy (

    The premise of this article, as originally written, was incorrect as commenter #7 points out.

    Petitions become public records once they are submitted to the Secretary of State Elections Division and disclosure requests are handled by Public Disclosure Officers.

    Petition submitters have no role in releasing public records.

    The SCOTUS ruled on the facial challenge made by Protect Marriage Washington in Doe v. Reed which sought a ruling that public disclosure of any petition signature information was unconstitutional. They failed in that broad challenge when the SCOTUS ruled that public disclosure of this information is constitutional.

    The court stated that there was still an “as applied” challenge that Protect Marriage Washington could make preventing the release of public records for Referendum 71 only, at the same time warning that the standard for winning such a case would be very high.

    Protect Marriage Washington have said that they will pursue the as applied challenge
    According to Dave Ammons, a spokesperson for the Secretary of State, the U.S. District Court (Judge Benjamin Settle) “has temporarily dismissed their motion to ban release of R-71 petitions, but they can re-file the request after the U.S. Supreme Court officially returns the case to the U.S. District Court in Tacoma.”

    At this time, there is also an injunction from Thurston County Superior Court Judge Richard Hicks that is preventing release of public records for all petitions. Judge Hicks is presiding over a case brought by Tim Eyman to prevent the disclosure of public records for petitions he has submitted.

Comments are closed.