Thursday, August 12, 2010

Court Prohibits Reed From Releasing R-71 Names

Judge Settle has ruled that Secretary of State Sam Reed cannot release the names of R-71 petition signers to homosexual activists until the case is heard in his court.

It is likely to be heard in November.

The following is a press release from our lead attorney, James Bopp, Jr. :

Court Prohibits Release of Referendum Petitions; Will Consider Harassment Exception

Today, a federal judge entered an order preventing Washington from releasing the names and addresses of individuals that signed a referendum petition to repeal Washington’s “everything but marriage” domestic partnership law. Several opposition groups threatened to post the names of the petition signers on the Internet in an effort to encourage uncomfortable conversations with petition signers. Similar efforts around the country have resulted in death threats, property damage, and other harassment directed at supporters of traditional marriage.

Protect Marriage Washington, the sponsor of the petition, obtained a ruling last year preventing Washington from releasing the names and addresses of the petition signers. Earlier this summer, the Supreme Court reversed that decision, and held that disclosure of referendum petitions generally does not violate the U.S. Constitution. However, the Supreme Court sent the case back to Washington to consider whether disclosure of the identities of the petition signers is unconstitutional in light of the widespread harassment directed at supporters of traditional marriage. Today’s ruling will allow the Court to consider Protect Marriage Washington’s case.

James Bopp, Jr., lead counsel for Protect Marriage Washington, is pleased with the Court’s ruling. “Supporters of traditional marriage have received death threats and have had their personal property destroyed after standing up to protect the institution of marriage. No one should have to endure the harassment that these individuals have endured in their personal and professional lives for standing up for what they believe in. I am confident that when the judge considers all of the evidence, copies of the petitions will not be released to the public.”

Today’s ruling will remain in effect until the Court can consider Protect Marriage Washington’s arguments that disclosure of the petitions will expose petition signers to a reasonable probability of threats, harassment, and reprisals. The Court has asked the parties to agree to an accelerated schedule. No further hearings in the case are scheduled at this time.

More information about the case is available on the Madison Center website, http://www.jamesmadisoncenter.org, under “Doe v. Reed.”

James Bopp, Jr. has a national federal and state election law practice

3 comments:

  1. Gotta love the way that Bopp refers to Settle only as "A federal judge". Trying to obscure the fact that this is the same federal judge, who got his last ruling in this case overturned in an 8-1 decision by the Supreme Court?

    Another question that comes to mind is would one find Judge Settle's name among the signatures on R-71 petitions? If so shouldn't he recuse himself? Without the public record of the R-71 petitions being made public, how will the public ever know?

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  2. Yes, 'the fix is in' if this reason for suppressing the release of these public records is accepted. Publishing the signatures on line has happened in 4 other states, no problems. The list of donators in support of putting R-71 on the ballot have been in an online searchable database for over a year, no problem (you know they would have presented the instances if they could at the Supreme Court). They admitted in court that petition signers information can be up for sale by the collectors (something no one signing gave explicit consent for)

    There is no rational reason for this particular petition's signers to get an exemption to their status as public records at this time so late after the fact.

    Signing a petition is lawmaking, trying to be 'privately political' is an oxymoron.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The issues of abortion, Gay marriage etc are emotional issues. The names of the signer of these petitions should not be released.

    Christian fundamentalists as well as homosexual activists
    are both capable of violence
    against the signers.

    ReplyDelete

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