The R-71 free speech case will be heard today by the Supreme Court of the United States. The nation is watching.
Surprisingly, The Seattle Times who are on the record supporting Reed and McKenna, published an op-ed from our attorney, James Bopp, Jr. and Scott F. Bieniek.
The following is an overview of our case:
*Rather than embrace the opportunity to publicly debate the merits of the domestic-partnership law, opponents of R-71 vowed to obtain copies of the petitions hoping to place the names and addresses of the signers on the Internet to encourage "uncomfortable conversations," similar to those that happened in California regarding Prop. 8.
*Secretary of State Sam Reed agreed to become a willing participant in such campaign tactics by ruling that the state Public Records Act "required" disclosure of the petitions.
*More than 1,100 petitions have been filed with the Secretary of State since the law was enacted in 1972.
*In 2006, Reed became the first Secretary to release copies of petitions and Referendum 71 would be only the 9th petition released pursuant to the law or otherwise. Only an emergency order from the US Supreme Court on the eve of the election prevented what attorney Bopp calls, "tactics usually reserved for the schoolyard bully."
*Petition signers are not legislators. Sam Reed and Rob McKenna are wrong on that argument. Petition signers are not elected representatives and should not be treated as such. The petition signers are no more elected representatives than the 1.8 million who voted in that particular election. Should their votes be made public?
*This case is bigger than homosexual marriage. It is about the right of everyone to speak freely on the most salient and controversial issues facing our nation today and to do so free of threats, intimidation and bullying.
James Bopp notes that fittingly today's case will be Justice John Paul Steven's last as a member of the US Supreme Court.
Bopp concludes, "After an appropriate celebration of his storied career, the attention will turn to the individual nominated to fill his vacancy, and no doubt, the nominees record. The question in Doe v. Reed is, should the fact that the nominee signed a petition be part of that record? And should it be part of your record the next time you apply for employment? If the First Amendment means anything, the answer is no."
I have had a number of conversations with James Bopp. He is very capable, highly qualified and a godly man.
Be Prayerful. Be Vigilant. Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled.