Friday, June 25, 2010

Washington State anti-gay referendum secrecy nixed by Supreme Court

Lambda Legal has a press release about a Supreme Court ruling that petitioners for referendums, including anti-gay referendums, are not entitled under the First Amendment to secrecy of their signatures for controversial initiatives, under a theory that their identities could become known and that they could be singled out or targeted for harassment. The law generally doesn’t like to give in to this kind of thinking, regarding it as a kind of “snitch” mentality associated with gangs and organized crime.

The case is Doe v. Reed regarding Washington State Referendum 71, which would have kept Washington’s domestic partnership law from taking effect.

The Supreme Court opinion is available here.

The Lambda Legal press release is here.

Update: June 28

Robert Barnes has an article on the decision in the Washington Post today, and notes that a couple justices did express strategic concern that the power of the Internet could lead to petitioners (or disclosed financial contributors) to a socially unpopular campaign to be harrassed, intimidated or threatened. This is a nasty underbelly of Internet democracy, perhaps, link


Picture: From Washington DC Pride (not Washington state).

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