Main | Sunday, January 17, 2010

SCOTUS To Hear R-71 Petition Names Disclosure Case

Yet another omen. Considering the Supreme Court's ruling last week that Prop 8 opponents are rightfully terrified of violent homofascists, it doesn't bode well that they've agreed to hear the appeal of the decision to release the names on Washington state's anti-gay R-71 petition.
The justices said Friday they'll consider an appeal of a lower court's ruling that the names should be released. Legal scholars nationwide have been following the R-71 case, saying it could have broad implications for public disclosure laws. Arguments will take place in April. Protect Marriage Washington sought to block the release of the names of the 138,000 people who signed petitions in hopes of overturning the "everything but marriage" same-sex domestic partner law. In November Washington voters upheld the new statute. Gay rights groups have said they'll post the petition signers' names online, and some fear harassment or threats if their names are revealed.

The ultimate decision could have far-reaching impacts, not just on the state's initiative and referendum process, but also for other "open government" laws like the disclosure of who contributes to political campaigns, and how much they give. "We are pleased that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear this case that seeks to protect the rights of citizens who support a traditional definition of marriage to speak freely and without fear," James Bopp, Jr., the Indiana-based attorney for Protect Marriage Washington, said in a statement. "The First Amendment protects citizens from being required to disclose their identity when they are engaged in political speech....we look forward to their review of the case."

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