Sec. of State Sam Reed and Attorney General Rob McKenna are getting strong support from the left and far left as they prepare to argue their case for releasing the names of those who signed the R-71 petitions to the homosexual activists who are demanding access to the 138,000 people who signed them.
Their list of supporters is interesting. Most of the media---particularly the newspapers in the state are supporting them, along with all the homosexual advocacy organizations. Other states that have similar disclosure laws are in support as well.
The Everett Herald reported yesterday that McKenna will, "Weave in arguments of the other two parties in the case"----Washington Coalition for Open Government and Washington Families Standing Together, a homosexual advocacy group, in attempting to release petitioner's names to the public.
I found it interesting how Attorney General McKenna characterizes the threats and promised threats from homosexual activists.
Our lead attorney, James Bopp, Jr. says, "This is about disclosing the identity of people who sign the petition and those people being targeted by homosexual advocates for harassment and intimidation."
McKenna, representing Reed and the state, says the state laws impose a "modest threat" on petition signers.
However Bopp will tell the Court that disclosing the identity of the signers will put them at risk, pointing out what happened in California following the Prop. 8 campaign.
While The Seattle Times quoted Anne Levinson, chairwoman of the homosexual advocacy group, Washington Families Standing Together, they carefully avoided quoting the part of Levinson's public comment saying, "There is no credible evidence at all that individuals who signed the petitions to put R-71 on the ballot suffered intimidation or harassment." I know The Times knows there is evidence. I have shared some of it with them.
The web site calling for the destruction of all buildings, public and church buildings, belonging to those who oppose homosexual marriage is well known and is a matter of record. It is also publicly known that the site advocated for the death of Larry Stickney and myself.
Stickney and his family were forced to sleep in rooms not facing the street during the campaign because of a flow of hate mail and hate voice mail and people stopping in front of their home and taking pictures.
Whosigned.org, a homosexual advocacy group has publicly promised to publish all names on the Internet providing activists easy access to the personal information.
Bopp said if these names are made public, "They're going to harass them. They're going to victimize them. They're going to MapQuest these people."
And they will.
It is also a matter of record that Dominic Holden has already harvested names of donors from the PDC records of Protect Marriage Washington and called their homes, confronting them with questions about their support of natural marriage. Some confronted were elderly and not prepared for that kind of confrontation in the privacy of their own home.
Mr. McKenna and Mr. Reed may consider the threats already made and those that are promised to come "modest," however "modest" would likely take on new meaning if the proverbial shoe was on the other foot.
Or if similar threats and promises of threats and intimidation were directed at leaders of the homosexual activist organizations.
This case has captured national attention for a number of reasons. Most are predicting we will fail in our attempt to protect the petition signer's right to free speech and participation in the electoral process without intimidation and harassment.
However James Bopp, Jr. is a leading legal authority on these matters and has argued before the Supreme Court a number of times. This will be his 9th appearance before the Court.
Jay Stewart, a University of Washington law professor who specializes in constitutional law, thinks the court may go our way.
He said, "I would be surprised if the court found that signing a petition was not a form of political speech protected by the First Amendment."
He said the court has a tradition of protecting anonymity for political actions such as leafleting and publishing handbills, especially related to elections."
James Bopp says, "Signing a petition is not a legislative act subject to public review, as the state contends."
He says of the state, "They are not acting in a representative capacity. They are acting in a sovereign capacity."
We will see. The Court is expected to rule by June.
Depending on which way the ruling goes, this may not be the end of the matter.
Be Vigilant. Be Strong. Be Prayerful. Do Not Be Fearful.