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Court: Names of Donors to Referendum 71 Can Be Made Public

A panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a September 11 ruling by U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle keeping private the names of donors in the anti-gay campaign to put Referendum 71 on the Washington ballot.

R71 The Seattle Times reports: "Despite the appeals-court ruling, the names weren't immediately released. Janelle Guthrie, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Rob McKenna, said her office must now ask a Thurston County judge to lift a temporary restraining order issued Wednesday forbidding the release of the petitions until the 9th Circuit could rule. 'These petitions are not like a secret ballot, but amount to taking part in our legislative process, which is required to be open and accountable,' Secretary of State Sam Reed said...Conservative Christian groups that sponsored R-71 want to keep the signed petitions out of public view because they fear harassment from gay-rights supporters. In its brief order, the three-judge appeals panel said Settle used the wrong legal standard in granting the preliminary injunction that barred release of the petitions, and that the injunction therefore must be reversed. The judges said they would later issue an opinion explaining their reasoning."

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  1. Good news! I love the 9th Circuit. You can always count on them for a fun time. Although, in fairness, the Conservative groups are correct, we are going to use the lists to "harass" them. That's what democracy is about! Freedom of speech, not freedom from reprecussions.

    Posted by: Jon B | Oct 15, 2009 5:34:49 PM

  2. The church's position is patently absurd any way. They're essentually arguing that the rules only apply to other people. That they deserve some sort of special treatment with regards to campaign financing laws.

    When an individual donates money to a candidate, the information is released for all to see.

    That's how disgruntled conservative Star Wars fans know George Lucas is a Democrat. He gave to Pelosi, Fienstein, and Obama in 2008. And some Republican nerd with too much time on his hands looked it up and complained. Which he's absolutely entitled to do. The principle hasn't changed just because these pastors decided to bring Jesus into it.

    Posted by: John | Oct 15, 2009 6:05:42 PM

  3. As a resident of Washington... I am looking forward to reviewing the list to see who I know. It is always good to know where everyone stands on my human rights! Friends, neighbors, colleagues, who knows what I might find on the list!

    Posted by: GW | Oct 15, 2009 6:36:01 PM

  4. I wanted to vote on Washingtons R71 and I looked up gay marriage and Washington on towleroad. All I got was Washington DC.

    Posted by: barney | Oct 15, 2009 6:36:47 PM

  5. Barney: try clicking the "Washington" tag just under this post. There are dozens of posts, if not more.

    Posted by: KevinVT | Oct 15, 2009 7:07:54 PM

  6. How very sad for the Heterosexual Dictators.


    Posted by: John Bisceglia | Oct 15, 2009 8:28:45 PM

  7. Jon B: It's not fear from harassment that motivates their secrecy - it's knowing that their donors and supporters don't want their bigotry in plain view.

    It's cool to hate us in private, but air those feelings in public and suddenly they get a little shy.

    Posted by: Tommy | Oct 16, 2009 3:20:42 PM

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