Home November 2011 Judge orders release of Washington R-71 petitioners’ names

Judge orders release of Washington R-71 petitioners’ names

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OLYMPIA, Wash. — As a result of a federal judge’s ruling in Tacoma Oct. 17, the names of 137,500 Washington residents — many of them concerned Christians — who in 2009 signed a referendum petition to repeal the state’s “everything but marriage” domestic partnership law have been made public by the Secretary of State’s Office.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle dismayed leaders of Protect Marriage Washington, a sponsor of Referendum 71, which lost in a November 2009 election by a 53.15 to 46,85 percent margin.

Furthermore, Larry Stickney and Gary Randall of Protect Marriage Washington, in a press release after the ruling, charged that Secretary of State Sam Reed and Attorney General Rob McKenna effectively “threw 138,000 citizen defenders of marriage under the bus” by contending in court that the names should be released.

“We have argued that releasing the signatures would create a chilling effect on all future initiative efforts regarding homosexual efforts to redefine the culture,” stated Randall. “The decision to release the names is bad news for Washington state. I believe there will be more harassment, and I pray to God there isn’t more than that.”

Reed, however, in a prepared statement termed the ruling “a victory for transparency and open disclosure in our state’s referendum and initiative process.”

As reported by the order brand viagra online india generic cialis sublingual Seattle Times walmart generic brand viagra price , within hours of the ruling the state had released DVDs of the petitions, available for $15 each from the State Archives.

Protect Marriage Washington’s legal team immediately filed a federal court notice that the group will appeal Settle’s ruling to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Protect Marriage Washington sued the state in 2009 to block release of the names after two militant homosexual groups vowed to reveal the names on two websites — who-signed.org and knowthyneighbor.org — in hopes readers would pursue “uncomfortable conversations” with signers.

Stephen Pidgeon, an attorney for Protect Marriage Washington, told the generic cialis vs generic viagra viagra for sale online australia Times that proponents of the referendum had faced numerous threats, including serious death threats, acts of violence, harassment and published declarations that there would be harassment.

But Settle determined there was no “reasonable probability that the threats, harassment, or reprisals exist as to the signers of R-71, now nearly two years after R-71 was submitted to the voters in Washington state.”

A five-day trial had been scheduled to start Sept. 27, but Settle on Sept. 20 canceled it, deciding instead that he alone would hear the case and issue a summary judgment.
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