Main | Friday, September 11, 2009

Judge: The Signers Of Referendum 71 Can Keep On Their White Hoods

A federal judge has ruled that the names of the bigoted signers of Referendum 71 will remain shielded from public review. If his temporary injunction stands, we'll never really know if the signers were actually registered voters or even real people, as many questions have been raised about the entire petition process, including the verifications of the names.
U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle in Tacoma granted the preliminary injunction involving petitions for Referendum 71 while a related case moves forward on the constitutionality of the state public records act. The referendum, sponsored by a group called Protect Marriage Washington, asks voters to approve or reject the "everything but marriage" domestic partnership law that state lawmakers passed earlier this year. In his ruling, Settle said he was "not persuaded that waiver of one's fundamental right to anonymous political speech is a prerequisite for participation in Washington's referendum process." Brian Zylstra, spokesman for Secretary of State Sam Reed, said that the judge's decision "is a step away from open government." "When people sign a referendum or initiative petition, they are trying to change state law," he said. "We believe that changing state law should be open to public view." A spokesman for the state attorney general's office, which is representing Reed in the case, said they are weighing whether to appeal the preliminary injunction.
Protect Marriage exults: "The court has said, and said rightly, that the ability to participate, even anonymously, in the political process is a long and respected right in the United States." Remind you of anybody else that liked to "participate anonymously"?

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