Thursday, July 30, 2009

Washington State Judge Blocks Release of Ref. 71 Signer Names; Signature Gatherers Used Deceitful Tactics

UPDATE: Read this informative post about the numbers involved with Referendum 71.

Those responsible for Referendum 71 hope to put the kibosh on Washington's State enhanced domestic partnership law which recently passed and extends the full rights and benefits equivalent to marriage. Known as the "Everything But Marriage" law, opponents state the next step is marriage itself.

(See bottom of this post - in order to keep the law with extended benefits, you have to vote YES for Ref. 71.)

Protect Washington Families, the anti-gay group that turned in 138,500 signatures to get Referendum 71 on the ballot and need 120,577 verified, requested of the court to block the release of the names of signers.

The Seattle Times reports:
A federal judge in Tacoma has temporarily blocked release of the names and addresses of those who signed Referendum 71, which would repeal a law giving gay couples new marriage-like benefits.

U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle this afternoon granted a temporary restraining order requested by Protect Washington Families to stop the Secretary of State's Office from making the signers' names public.
Though the secretary's office claims the court has no authority to block the releasing of the names, they don't plan on contesting the order. With the domestic partnership law being placed on hold until the signatures are verified, this is another setback for those who were against Referendum 71 taking place.

Tom Lang, director of, working in conjunction with Washington activists of, plans to post the names on his site and told the Seattle Times that he was intensely disappointed Washington failed to defend its own public disclosure law in court.

They had hoped to post the names and addresses as soon as they are available, allowing the public to do its own search for invalid names. "All this information belongs to the public," he said. "We should not have to ask for it to be made public or wait for a court decision."

They have already filed a formal request for the names to be released.

To make matters worse, claims have been made that signature gatherers for Referendum 71 used deceitful tactics to get people to sign. Reports had been coming in that they were struggling to get the minimum amount of signatures and resorted to lying.

This video shows a signature gatherer using dishonest means to get a woman who supports marriage equality to sign in favor of the referendum.

It could take up to a month to verify the signatures, but if supporters of the referendum succeed in having the minimum amount, voters will have a say on the initiative this November, which doesn't leave a lot of time for a campaign.


Making matters a little more confusing, the language of the referendum requires a YES vote if you want to keep the expanded domestic partnership law that gives same-sex couples all the rights and benefits of marriage. Find out more at Washington Families Standing Together.



  1. You should not assume that the lying bastards tricked enough people into signing the petition authorizing the referendum. Headlines like this are confusing. I hope that there will be no vote at all.

  2. Yeah, I realized when I got back to my computer that the headline was a bit off. I amended slightly. It's a difficult story to cover with all the nuances.