This is part 1 of a 3 part series discussing the pending Supreme Court case that will decide the future of our petition gathering process in Washington, and the push by anti-equality forces to operate in secrecy nationwide.
The US Supreme Court will meet on January 15th to decide whether to hear Doe v. Reed. This is the culmination of a lawsuit first filed this summer by those who promoted Referendum 71 with the failed hope that voters would repeal our state's domestic partnership law. Six months later they are still trying to keep their petition signatures secret. They want to change Washington State's public disclosure laws so they can work under a hooded cloak of anonymity while they attempt to keep families who do not look like theirs from having legal protections and rights under the law. A decision will likely be announced the following Tuesday whether they intend to hear the case.
The State of Washington and Washington Families Standing Together are defending the right of the public to have a transparent and accountable petition process and asking the Supreme Court to let the decision of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirming the public disclosure law stand.
Protect Marriage Washington and their national ally National Organization for Marriage claim that their supporters will be in danger if their names are made public as all petition signers names have been in our state, a danger that only seems to exist in the imaginations of those seeking secrecy. No physical harm has come to anyone who has signed a petition. We've had initiatives in this state for reproductive choice, death with dignity, land use policy, affirmative action - many important social and public policy issues where people have strong disagreement. That is what the democratic process is all about.
The irony in this case is striking. These same groups and individuals demanding secrecy have fought for years against laws that would protect LGBT individuals from very real harm - from bullying in school to hate crimes. Despite these real threats to our physical safety, we live our lives openly because we've learned hiding in the closet does no one any good. And here we have the forces of intolerance wanting to do just that.