Supreme Court Sets Date to Hear Referendum 71 Case

SCOTUS has set a date to hear the Referendum 71 signature case

R71 "The U.S. Supreme Court has scheduled an April 28 hearing on whether Washington state can release more than 138,000 names on petitions supporting a domestic partnership referendum.

Protect Marriage Washington unsuccessfully opposed a new law giving gay couples expanded rights. The group wants to shield petition-signers' names from public release, saying it fears harassment by gay-rights supporters."

Last September, as the campaign was in full swing, U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle temporarily barred state officials from releasing the identities of those who signed the referendum. In October, a federal appeals court reversed Settle's decision, prompting anti-gays to go to the U.S. Supreme Court. Justice Anthony Kennedy then issued a ruling blocking the appeals court decision. The full court later agreed to take on the case.

Referendum 71 was approved by voters on election day, expanding the rights of domestic partners in the state to "everything but marriage". Washington Governor Christine Gregoire and Secretary of State Sam Reed certified the election in early December and the law went into effect.