Federal judge Benjamin Settle ruled that anti-gay group Protect Marriage Washington (PWS) had to release the names of over 138,000 petition signers who sought to overturn the state’s gay partnership laws in a 2009 ballot measure called Referendum 71. PWS claimed that LGBTs would threaten and harass the petition signers if their names became public. But smart LGBTs will probably do little more than reach out to them.
Unlike Prop 8, Referendum 71 got beaten 53 percent to 47 percent—marking the first time that U.S. voters extended LGBT relationship rights. Thus, there’s a lot less acrimony and desire for “payback.” If anything, the newly release list of names should behoove LGBT activist groups to sit down with the petition signers and learn why they sought to vote against gay rights in the first place. The knowledge would surely come in handy for addressing potentially anti-gay voters in the upcoming Minnesota and North Carolina marriage battles.
Image via roxxannejomitchell
Seems to me that if somebody believes strongly enough in a cause to sign a petition (a pretty low threshold, of course), then they should be proud of their conviction. I’m constantly mystified by these people who want to engage in political speech but be magically protected against any ramifications of that speech (remember the right’s mantra about the Dixie Chicks: “free speech can have consequences”). Signing a petition has been held to be “political speech,” protected by the Constitution; the argument comes up because there’s also a right to “anonymous political speech” — for which blog flamers can rejoice — and the question is whether signing a petition can be done anonymously. Remember that signing a ballot petition isn’t just saying “Yeah I agree with this,” it’s joining a call for action, saying “I think we should all vote on this.” Voting is anonymous political speech; signing your name on a call for a ballot initiative is obviously not. The notion that you can somehow sign your legal name anonymously, it seems to me, is oxymoronic. But PWS is comprised of morons, so there we are.
i live in Washington state and all I can say is “About time” what these people are really afraid of are the ones who are business owners, once they are brought to the light of day they know they will loose alot of business, thats why they want to keep the names under raps just cowards in the end.
lol, now they are going to learn to come OUT
If some asshole gets some pushback for signing the petition, they’ll almost certainly blame The Homosexual Agenda.
But the real blame falls on the organization behind the petition, because absent the petition, the individual might never have been unmasked as a secret bigot.
Clever organizers of all stripes might figure out petitions are a good way to discern the identities of the organizers opponents. Ferchrissakes, it’s a targeted mailing list.
you gotta love the irony, eh? We have to Come Out to claim our lives for our own and fight for our rights and these wimps don’t have it in them to “Come Out” when they try to take them away.
heaven forbid the people be allowed to bully us in the light of day where could, in effect, bully back.
coward culture. lovesit.
Hey, they are bigots, and instead of wearing white Hoods over their faces, they are trying to fight to keep their bigotry a secret.
So where are the names? I’ve been looking all over the internet but can’t find them actually posted anywhere. Does anyone know or have a link?
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