Main | Friday, August 28, 2009

WA: R-71 Donor Names To Go Public

The Washington State Public Disclosure Commission has decided to make public the names of those who donated to Referendum 71, the ballot drive to repeal domestic partners legislation. The Commission decided that the anti-gay group, Protect Marriage, had no proof that people has been threatened for making similar donations.
The request to remove the names was made earlier this month by Protect Marriage Washington, the group backing Referendum 71, which seeks to put newly expanded domestic partnership benefits up to a public vote in November. The group had asked the state to redact and seal the names, addresses and occupations of donors, citing threats of violence against supporters and churches. Donors' information had already been made public, in accordance with state law. The commission said Protect Marriage Washington had not proved that disclosure of donors' names would result in "manifestly unreasonable hardship" to contributors. While Protect Marriage Washington did provide the commission with some threatening e-mails and blog postings, it "provided no evidence from or about donors that have demonstrated that they have received threats of violence against their lives or property," or that they were being targeted for boycotts, PDC assistant director Doug Ellis said during the hearing. Moreover, the commission decided, removing the names would thwart the purpose of the public disclosure law: To avoid secrecy in campaigns.
According to the latest predictions, Referendum 71 will make the ballot. However a pro-gay group is contesting the manner in which the petition signatures have been counted.

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