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Prop 8 : CA :: Ref 71 : WA
September 1, 2009 11:35 AM   Subscribe

On May 18, 2009, the Governor of Washington state signed into law SB 5688, granting near-equal legal standing to state registered domestic partners, meaning mainly (but not exclusively) same-sex couples. This new law, nicknamed the "everything but marriage" law was to go into effect at the end of July. Due to efforts made by some conservative groups, the measure will now be up for a public vote on the November 3, 2009 ballot in the form of Referendum 71.

Meanwhile, a coalition of groups has formed to ensure the law remains standing, while others seek to make the names of the petition signers public. The legal battles over the signatures have already begun.

Previously.
posted by hippybear (195 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Is anything else happening on the November ballot that would get voters out?
posted by smackfu at 11:41 AM on September 1, 2009


HUBBY HUBBY PARTY!
posted by anotherpanacea at 11:43 AM on September 1, 2009


I am about as vehement as anyone in my support for marriage equality, but I am also uncomfortable with publishing the names and addresses of those who work for the other point of view.

Practically, each instance of harassment gives credence to the (mistaken) assumption that their views originate from a place other than pure hatred.

Philosophically, I would not want a brick through my window in response to any legal political activity that I undertake.

So, no, as worked up as I am about this issue, I do not support publishing names of those on the other side.
posted by Danf at 11:44 AM on September 1, 2009 [6 favorites]


We had exactly the same discussion when the Samn Francisco donors to Prop 8, which was public info, was mapped on Google maps. Were there any bricks thrown through windows in retaliation, or is this demand for privacy based on an unforunded fear of gay-friendly retaliation.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:49 AM on September 1, 2009 [5 favorites]


I agree with Danf re: publishing petition signers. It will do nothing but continue to point fingers. If you've got a bone to pick, spend that time and effort educating, not humiliating.
posted by june made him a gemini at 11:50 AM on September 1, 2009


posted by hippybear Meanwhile, a coalition of groups has formed to ensure the law remains standing, while others seek to make the names of the petition signers public.

Good luck with that. Signatures on initiative and referendum petitions are not public records.The secretary of state should only permit inspection of such petitions by persons authorized to attend the canvass of the names and prosecuting attorneys contemplating criminal prosecutions.
posted by mattdidthat at 11:51 AM on September 1, 2009


Part of me - the secret optimist that thinks my beloved Washington will crush this because we are, on the whole, too progressive to pass such openly hateful crap - is glad for this chance to publicly vote about this, and so put it to bed, once and for all, here. Another part of me - the part that believes that all people are capable of truly horrendous things - is scared to death that somehow the small-minded bigots have finally infiltrated us to such an extent, that even this shamefully bare-faced attempt to institutionalize bigotry has a chance. And I'm afraid.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:52 AM on September 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


Signatures on a petition are already public. When people sign, they have no reasonable expectation of privacy, so I don't see a problem with publishing the information.
posted by lexicakes at 11:52 AM on September 1, 2009


I signed a public document and now my name is public. boo hoo

That is the price of admission. If you don't want your name to be public, don't sign and just flick a lever for the disgusting thing in November.
posted by munchingzombie at 11:53 AM on September 1, 2009


Insisting that you be granted a special right to circumvent public disclosure law while trying to prevent others from having equal rights sticks in my craw a bit. A lot.
posted by bz at 11:55 AM on September 1, 2009 [5 favorites]


I hate you, referendum process.
posted by Skot at 11:58 AM on September 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


mattdidthat's post, pointing to the fact that petitions are not public is a piece of news to me. It's the donation and funding records that are subject to public disclosure... I *think.*
posted by bz at 11:59 AM on September 1, 2009


HUBBY HUBBY PARTY!

Gotta love the comments at newspaper sites
posted by milkrate at 12:00 PM on September 1, 2009


"We don't want to withhold any rights. We're just uncomfortable with people of the same sex using the term 'marriage."

->

"OK. We lied. We do want to withhold rights from gay people."

Also, again (as with SF) an intentionally confusing referendum. The point of the referendum is to challenge SB 5688. So is a vote for Ref 71 a vote for or against same-sex partnership rights? I know the answer but do most voters?
posted by mrgrimm at 12:00 PM on September 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


Signatures on a petition are already public. When people sign, they have no reasonable expectation of privacy, so I don't see a problem with publishing the information.

I think it's the fact that there's a site specifically for outing the signatures in this specific case, not that it's already public record. If you really wanted to find that information, you could, but mirroring it on a site to allow people to do what they will with it is something else entirely. Leslie Graves writes about a similar issue regarding Washington and I-1033 and touches a bit on this one as well.
posted by june made him a gemini at 12:03 PM on September 1, 2009


Actually, matdidthat's post points to a letter from the WA Attorney General outlining their opinion on the matter, which also includes the phrase "while there is no specific statue on the precise question presented..."
posted by hippybear at 12:04 PM on September 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


The wording is VERY clear:
Ballot Title
Statement of Subject: The legislature passed Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill 5688[5] concerning rights and responsibilities of state-registered domestic partners [and voters have filed a sufficient referendum petition on this bill].

Concise Description: This bill would expand the rights, responsibilities, and obligations accorded state-registered same-sex and senior domestic partners to be equivalent to those of married spouses, except that a domestic partnership is not a marriage.

Should this bill be:
Approved ___
Rejected ___

Ballot Measure Summary
Same-sex couples, or any couple that includes one person age sixty-two or older, may register as a domestic partnership with the state. Registered domestic partnerships are not marriages, and marriage is prohibited except between one man and one woman. This bill would expand the rights, responsibilities, and obligations of registered domestic partners and their families to include all rights, responsibilities, and obligations granted by or imposed by state law on married couples and their families.
posted by hippybear at 12:06 PM on September 1, 2009


Ack! I'm moderating my own thread. I'll be back later.
posted by hippybear at 12:07 PM on September 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Were there any bricks thrown through windows in retaliation, or is this demand for privacy based on an unforunded fear of gay-friendly retaliation

Even if they don't care, it sure is a good distraction to their opponents. Again.
posted by smackfu at 12:12 PM on September 1, 2009


But what is the POINT of publishing names and addresses? To shame them, or to scare them? The first one won't be effective (they think that WE are the ones who should be ashamed), and the second one is wrong. This won't lead to anything positive.
posted by Edgewise at 12:22 PM on September 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Which just shows what we knew all along: conservatives were fibbing when they tried to say that it was all about the definition of "marriage."
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:26 PM on September 1, 2009 [7 favorites]


This is the perfect manuever to keep progressives at home.

Fundies will flock to the polls to prevent ANY expansion of gay rights.

But progs may throw their hands up with the icky-ness of choosing between granting second-class rights or voting against second-class citizenship and waiting for full equality. Of course, when they stay home, they will not be voting in favor of any other progressive candidates or issues and the right-wingers win on all sides.

Damn, damn, damn!!!!!!!
posted by marsha56 at 12:26 PM on September 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Earlier today I left a message for the Justice of the Peace in Brattleboro, VT who performed our Civil Union in October 2000. We want her to perform the civil marriage ceremony for us. Then I read this.

Sigh...
posted by paddbear at 12:38 PM on September 1, 2009


The "Protect Marriage WA" website asserts:

SB 5688 is a 110 page document which includes the phrase "marriage shall apply equally to state registered domestic partnerships" 180 times.

This is pretty funny, because if you look at the 180 times this "phrase" appears in the legislation, there's a bit of missing context:

references to dissolution of marriage shall apply equally to state registered domestic partnerships that have been terminated, dissolved, or invalidated, to the extent that such interpretation does not conflict with federal law.
posted by brain_drain at 12:40 PM on September 1, 2009


But what is the POINT of publishing names and addresses? To shame them, or to scare them? The first one won't be effective (they think that WE are the ones who should be ashamed), and the second one is wrong. This won't lead to anything positive.

The first would be plenty effective. We have not eradicated racism or sexism completely, but in a lot of parts of the country, overt racism or sexism is just plain unacceptable. Make it clear that if they want to spread their hateful bullshit, they have to do it in public. There won't be bricks through windows, but there might be boycotts of their businesses.

Granted, we won't change their minds by forcing them to hide their hateful thoughts, but it creates a less hateful environment for the next generation to grow up in. Just like Grandpa was a racist to his grave, but his grandson's best friend was black.
posted by explosion at 12:41 PM on September 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Actually, matdidthat's post points to a letter from the WA Attorney General outlining their opinion on the matter, which also includes the phrase 'while there is no specific statue on the precise question presented...'"

Good catch. And it is an opinion from 16 years before the relevant public disclosure laws were enacted in the state.

This is a far better source of what public disclosure laws compel to be disclosed and what records are exempt from disclosure. Petitions such as what is discussed in this thread are not listed among the exclusions.
posted by bz at 12:41 PM on September 1, 2009


Signatures on initiative and referendum petitions are not public records.The secretary of state should only permit inspection of such petitions by persons authorized to attend the canvass of the names and prosecuting attorneys contemplating criminal prosecutions.

"Earlier Wednesday, the [Washington] Secretary of State's Office had said that while it has no statutory authority to withhold the names it also did not plan to contest the effort to temporarily block their release. No one from the state Attorney General's Office was present at the hearing." [emph. added]
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:41 PM on September 1, 2009


About the conservative opposition to this... wow. Just wow. Not even just the usual wow over homophobic reactions. Wow over a complete lack of political awareness, over a complete lack of ability to see what their core interests are and the best that they can possibly hope for is.

I've got some semi-conservative acquaintances who made their case to me during the whole prop 8 thing, and I think they'd be pissed at this. A good chunk of the marriage fight to them wasn't really about whether or not Teh Gays can visit in the hospital: they realize that denying this is inhumane, they understand that you can't take on the battle of having the state force everybody to live under their moral code. And in particular, if you talked to them about everybody having the right to a legal framework that anyone could use to create the home life of their choice, they understood. So even among those highly nervous about the apparent change of the term marriage and the more or less explicit endorsement of homosexuality by the state, most of them embraced the idea of civil unions.

And recognized something like this is probably inevitable. The moral weight of the argument that people should be able to create the home life they choose to is strong enough that it will continue to gain traction. Institutional religious authority is fading. And the idea of an "everything but marriage" act can be a good faith compromise where both sides of this particular front of the culture war can get what they really need most, even if nobody gets everything they want.

I know enough crazy conservatives, totally dialectic black and white worldview, to whom the idea of compromise is just completely antithetical, that I'm not surprised there's opposition here. I am surprised, though, that they have enough numbers and clout to put this to a referendum in Washington... but not enough savvy to realize that they're battling over social territory they've already lost, and if they actually succeed here, they will probably suffer a defeat that will more thoroughly compromise what's most important to them later.

In that context, it might even be worth wishing them luck, but I don't like that kind of gamesmanship and I think refusal to compromise or work in good faith is a core problem of our system across the board right now, so I can't bring myself to do it.
posted by namespan at 12:44 PM on September 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


posted by Edgewise But what is the POINT of publishing names and addresses?

Smug, self-serving schadenfreude. But the reason not to publish or make public the names and addresses of those who sign petitions is the same reason names and addresses are not published or required on ballots.
posted by mattdidthat at 12:45 PM on September 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've already got my slogan ready for the rallies:

71ck my H8 stick!
posted by gurple at 12:52 PM on September 1, 2009


Another part of me - the part that believes that all people are capable of truly horrendous things - is scared to death that somehow the small-minded bigots have finally infiltrated us to such an extent, that even this shamefully bare-faced attempt to institutionalize bigotry has a chance. And I'm afraid.

Speaking as an ex-resident of California and a person who narrowly escaped the invalidation of my marriage through Prop 8, I would say, Be very afraid.
posted by blucevalo at 12:53 PM on September 1, 2009


As expected, removing marriage from the table wasn't enough for Christian fundamentalists. Domestic partnership in Washington completely dissociates rights from the use of the word "marriage".

In other words, the slippery slope that some of us warned about turned out to be true: replacing "marriage" with "partnership" is not enough. Religious extremists will scheme to take away rights regardless of what the relationship is actually called.

I think that getting the names of the people who signed this is important. If you want to codify bigotry into law, then you should not feel any shame about your name being on the public record. In fact, you should be proud that you stood up for what you believed in.

In the end, shame is really the only reason that these bigots do not want their names released. There is no evidence or reason to believe that anyone would act in a violent manner towards the people who signed this petition, so that argument is nonsense.

One of the best ways to fight this is to publicly shame people who signed up for this. You should feel ashamed about putting my rights on a ballot. If you're using my tax dollars to put my rights up to a yes/no vote, then you should be willing to suffer public humiliation for doing so. You're not protected, even if your cause is sponsored by religious organizations.

Another important way to fight this, I think, is to point out how much "collateral damage" this would do to straight couples who want to get the legal protections of a domestic partnership. This referendum would eliminate their rights, as well, though the aim of religious extremists is clearly to hurt same-sex couples.

It's not clear if the bigots who support this referendum really understand the full consequences of their hate campaign. But getting them out from under their rocks and exposing them to sunlight, as well as educating the public about the full extent of the damage this would cause are both important as the ballot day approaches.

If you do not believe in this hate campaign, please consider supporting Equal Rights Washington, if you can.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:55 PM on September 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


It's worth nothing that Ref 71 isn't quite a done deal yet. There's a lawsuit to get a large number of petition signatures thrown out. We'll find out tomorrow if the court will file an injunction to keep 71 off the ballot in November.
posted by gurple at 12:58 PM on September 1, 2009


posted by Blazecock Pileon There is no evidence or reason to believe that anyone would act in a violent manner towards the people who signed this petition, so that argument is nonsense.

Bold stance. If that's true, why don't you post your full name and address right here along with a list of every cause you support?
posted by mattdidthat at 1:00 PM on September 1, 2009


But the reason not to publish or make public the names and addresses of those who sign petitions is the same reason names and addresses are not published or required on ballots.

The Washington Secretary of State's Office are on record, such that they would probably disagree with your opinion of their laws.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:01 PM on September 1, 2009


There is a difference between supporting causes and signing petitions. It's a very distinct legal one. Petition signatures are required to be verifiable. Joining an organization carries no similar legal weight. Voting is secret because it is about issues already before the voters. Petition signatures are part of the process of getting those matters on the ballot, and can only be granted by legal voters. Voting, on the other hand, is verified before you go into the voting booth, after which anything you do should be between you and nobody else.
posted by hippybear at 1:03 PM on September 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Bold stance. If that's true, why don't you post your full name and address right here along with a list of every cause you support?

Really, we have to do that to disprove your point? Why don't you simply say "Bold stance, why don't you have your viewpoints tattooed on your forehead and hand out card with your address?"

My viewpoints are public, my address is public, my phone number is on my blog, my photo is easy to find online. I'd say I have done enough.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:05 PM on September 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


posted by Blazecock Pileon The Washington Secretary of State's Office are on record, such that they would probably disagree with your opinion of their laws.

I'm not familiar with the ballots in Washington State, but here in California--and I believe in every other state--your name and address are not on your ballot. If you've got a Washington State ballot that shows this to be incorrect, I'd love to see it.
posted by mattdidthat at 1:07 PM on September 1, 2009


There is a difference between a petition and a ballot.
posted by kmz at 1:07 PM on September 1, 2009 [5 favorites]


If that's true, why don't you post your full name and address right here along with a list of every cause you support?

Probably because -- in the US, at least -- there is a well-established pattern of violence towards people for being gay, to the extent that hate crime legislation was recently passed because of it. And I think I reasonably fear for my safety in a country which seems to continually put my rights up to the equivalent of mob justice.

Whereas there is not really a pattern of violence towards religious extremists by the GLBT community. And the argument in support of withholding names requires such a pattern to exist, or some kind of precedent or other information that you know does not exist, either.

But you knew all of this, of course.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:10 PM on September 1, 2009


Another important way to fight this, I think, is to point out how much "collateral damage" this would do to straight couples who want to get the legal protections of a domestic partnership.

Straight couples, gay couples, asexual couples, and in general people who decide they want to form a home life together for reasons you or I haven't even thought of yet.

It's a good point. While domestic partnerships may be a means for same-sex couples to establish the life they're looking for, they aren't explicitly or necessarily about gay rights. They're about whether or not people have means to make legal statements about taking care of each other and how they'll live together.
posted by namespan at 1:11 PM on September 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Here in Nevada we got the same kind of law passed and while it was vetoed by the Gov. (aka the LuvGuv - having sent 800+ texts to a female "friend" on a state cell phone while he is in the middle of a divorce with his wife), the legislature overrode the veto and it goes into effect in October or November.

Given that WA is probably a bluer state than NV, its kind of a surprise...
posted by SirOmega at 1:14 PM on September 1, 2009


Probably because -- in the US, at least -- there is a well-established pattern of violence towards people for being gay

Which is EXACTLY why you should be against publishing the names of petition signers. Imagine the opposite scenario, where a GLBT group was petitioning to get a GLBT positive law up for vote.

Do you really want the wingnuts to know the name and address of every petition signer? Should a supporter of such a law be required to risk their personal safety, and that of their families, in order to participate in the democratic process?

As others have stated, this is one of the main reasons we have a secret ballot for voting. I recognize that petition signatures need to be verifiable, but that is technical problem which we can solve in other ways. We can have secret yet verifiable petitions if we want to. There is no need to resort to a solution that allows a google-maps mashup to show your political opponents where you live and what your political stance is.

Especially when those opponents have a tendency towards violence.
posted by jsonic at 1:20 PM on September 1, 2009


posted by Blazecock Pileon Probably because -- in the US, at least -- there is a well-established pattern of violence towards people for being gay, to the extent that hate crime legislation was recently passed because of it. And I think I reasonably fear for my safety in a country which seems to continually put my rights up to the equivalent of mob justice. Whereas there is not really a pattern of violence towards religious extremists by the GLBT community. And the argument in support of withholding names requires such a pattern to exist, or some kind of precedent or other information that you know does not exist, either.

Interesting, that you want to enjoy certain privileges while denying those same privileges to others who do not share your views.
posted by mattdidthat at 1:21 PM on September 1, 2009


Also, what jsonic said.
posted by mattdidthat at 1:22 PM on September 1, 2009


While domestic partnerships may be a means for same-sex couples to establish the life they're looking for, they aren't explicitly or necessarily about gay rights.

In fact, the wording of Washington State's domestic partnership legislation is explicit in treating the matter in a completely gender-neutral manner. The rights it provides to same-sex couples are all the same rights provided to opposite-sexed couples; no distinctions are made that separate two people who form this legal relationship.

My partner and I filled out our paperwork in July. The wording of the form itself makes no reference to marriage, sexuality or gender. The documents made it seem, as unromantic as it sounds, as if we were establishing a business entity.

Clearly, the religious majority is trying to go after the gays on this one, but if some agnostics, atheists or members of other religious minorities can't get the legal protections that others enjoy, then that's gravy, I guess.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:25 PM on September 1, 2009


Interesting, that you want to enjoy certain privileges while denying those same privileges to others who do not share your views.

If this is what you took away from my comment, you apparently did not understand the very clear distinction I made.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:29 PM on September 1, 2009


GLBT people learned long ago not to live in fear of their neighbors, no matter how much of a pool of bigoted assholes they may be. I would be perfectly fine signing a petition which had my name published, even as part of a google maps mashup. But then, I also live in a house which routinely has two cars with rainbow flag stickers parked out front, have never made it my practice to hide who I am from anyone, especially my neighbors, and often engage those with prejudicial opinions against me in conversation. Putting my name and address on a piece of paper in support of my quest for equality would not be any sort of change in lifestyle or openness for me.

Why would anyone who supports a cause, either pro or con, be afraid of being public about it? The only reason I can think of is that they expect to receive back from those they disagree with what they, themselves, would dish out to their own opponents if given the chance. Act with love, and expect it in return. Act with hate, live in fear.
posted by hippybear at 1:30 PM on September 1, 2009


marriage is a business arrangement. Divorce is...?
posted by Postroad at 1:32 PM on September 1, 2009


posted by hippybear Why would anyone who supports a cause, either pro or con, be afraid of being public about it?

Because, as jsonic pointed out, in the opposite scenario--where a GLBT group is petitioning to get a GLBT-positive law up for vote--the wingnuts would then have the names and address of every petition signer. The reason for keeping secret the signers' names and addresses is to protect you when you want to sign a petition.
posted by mattdidthat at 1:35 PM on September 1, 2009


Why would anyone who supports a cause, either pro or con, be afraid of being public about it?

Retribution, pure and simple. It can either be active: your opponents vandalize your house. Or passive: you don't get that new job since the interviewer knows your political opinion and disagrees. Use your imagination and I'm sure you can come up with many more.

You may feel willing to risk this type of retribution. I'd rather be able to participate in the democratic process without having to expose myself or my family to such retribution.

Which is basically why I never sign petitions. I do vote, though, since that is secret. We can make petitions verifiable and secret as well. That is, unless our goal is to punish those we disagree with. In that case, the current situation will do.
posted by jsonic at 1:38 PM on September 1, 2009


I am about as vehement as anyone in my support for marriage equality, but I am also uncomfortable with publishing the names and addresses of those who work for the other point of view.

"When I demanded to legally mandate what other people can do, I had no idea this might be an invasion of my privacy!"
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:39 PM on September 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


Again, I think the suggestion is that there will be violent reprisals. I have seen no evidence of that.

What we're discussing is a group of people making a demand for public change without being willing to public about their support for it. This strikes me as hypocritical, and I suspect that the political process suffers as a result of it, as people can anonymously engage in behavior that they know would be seen as reprehensible if they did it in public, in the same way that anonymity, lack of transparency, and lack of accountability leads inevitably to trolling online.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:41 PM on September 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Two heterosexuals are lecturing gays about oppression and fear in daily life? About not getting a job or fearing their property will be attacked?

Step back a few steps and laugh with me at the absurdity of this.

Or better, come talk to me again after you've had beer bottles throw at you out of a moving vehicle because the driver saw you exit a certain bar. Or after you've heard about a friend of yours having had his home invaded and been nearly beaten to death by two men with bats because they saw him at gay pride.
posted by hippybear at 1:41 PM on September 1, 2009 [10 favorites]


KnowThyNieghbor.org (Arkansas, Florida, Massachusetts, Oregon, Washington).

Previous MeFi FPP: 'You sign, it's posted.'
posted by ericb at 1:42 PM on September 1, 2009


Do you really want the wingnuts to know the name and address of every petition signer? Should a supporter of such a law be required to risk their personal safety, and that of their families, in order to participate in the democratic process?

I think putting gays and lesbians in the same bucket at those wingnuts is logically and morally inexcusable, for reasons I already outlined.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:42 PM on September 1, 2009


That is, unless our goal is to punish those we disagree with.

If you can empirically demonstrate that gays and lesbians pose the same violent threat to petition signers, as in the opposite case, then we can have a reasonable conversation. Equating the actions of the two groups is logically and morally reprehensible.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:44 PM on September 1, 2009


"When I demanded to legally mandate what other people can do, I had no idea this might be an invasion of my privacy!"

This really isn't a compelling argument. The Secretary of State can't pick and choose which petitions it thinks are loathsome enough to release the signatures for. There are good reasons why we should or should not release the names of signers of petitions, but "this petition sucks" isn't a good one, no matter how much this particular petition does suck. If you can't make an a priori argument about why we should release the signatures of all petitions without referring to the details of one particularly bigoted petition, you're not putting forth anything that actually works in a democracy.
posted by 0xFCAF at 1:45 PM on September 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


*KnowThyNeighbor*
posted by ericb at 1:47 PM on September 1, 2009


All petitions are subject to public disclosure laws in WA state. It is conservative groups which are seeking to circumvent the law which is already in place, which is subsequently being fought by other groups. There is nothing about the SoS picking and choosing. There are groups seeking to block an already in-place law from taking effect with these signatures.
posted by hippybear at 1:48 PM on September 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Two heterosexuals are lecturing gays about oppression and fear in daily life?

Nobody is lecturing you. Simply pointing out the perils of having your political opponents know where you and your family live.

I think putting gays and lesbians in the same bucket at those wingnuts is logically and morally inexcusable, for reasons I already outlined.

Way to dodge the issue.
posted by jsonic at 1:51 PM on September 1, 2009


We can make petitions verifiable and secret as well.

We could, but I'm not sure that's the idea of a petition. If a certain number of people aren't willing to stand up and be counted, putting themselves on the record as supporting something, maybe it shouldn't get on the ballot.

The ballot is secret, by design, but I could see how the petition process might be open, also by design.

It might occasionally dissuade someone like you from signing a petition, granted. But it might also dissuade people from signing things that they know they don't want their names attached to because they're repugnant, and in doing so would act as a check on hateful ballot amendments. That seems like it might be a worthy tradeoff.

The question is really: how is the system supposed to work? It seems like the AG's office isn't really sure and doesn't want to say. Petition signatures were never secret, but it doesn't seem like there's been much of an effort to comb over them in the past. So we need to decide whether the process ought to be secret or open, and then do it that way.

I think it should be an open petition followed by a secret ballot for the up/down vote. There are times when secrecy is important, but there should also be a stage in the process that weeds out the legislative equivalent of a masked mob.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:51 PM on September 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


On the one hand, I see no reason to keep names on a petition private. On the other, I’m not sure what would compel a given organization to release them. In terms of doing the work. I’d ask if folks would want the names from a petition to put a gay rights referendum on the ballot made public. One could argue if one is fair, so is the other. Granting of course, the exception that violence has been done to gay folks in the past. But that opens a whole can of worms in that how does one judge the potential for violence to any given individual on the list?

Kind of a moot point though. Because, most importantly, I think making the names public would be counterproductive in that – if the legal challenge here has a basis – that is, if it is true that people did not circulate the petitions properly and various names were added, then someone who did not sign the petition could be publicly associated with the referendum to change the law.
It is possible to determine, without going public with the name, if someone’s signature is valid.

And you’ve got, according to the Families Standing Together lawsuit, petitions with 2,058 signatures in which there was no name and no signature from the person collecting them. So those could well be invalid and I’d err on the side of protecting Joe Blow who didn’t actually sign his name to the thing, but his name is on there.

That point aside, I don’t know about this kind of petition to put a referendum on a ballot, but most people can get someone to sign just about anything. A petition against “women’s sufferage” say, or to ban the use of dihydrous oxide in the environment, etc.
So I don’t know how valid a reflection a name on a petition is of someone’s actual political stance.
Initiative petitions, I don’t know either. They seem a bit closer to the ballot than a regular sort of petition and so more entitled to privacy.
On the other hand, I don’t know what kind of latitude a challenger would need to verify a given petition.

Seems to me I’d want to allow them more than just the petitioners verification. I mean, you get enough petitioners together who are single minded enough and they can just go through the public records on line and forge signatures as though they actually went down the street.
Absent the right to challenge Joe Blow’s actual name by going to Mr. Blow’s house and asking him, I’m not sure how you’d discern the validity of that petition.
So, maybe made public within limited scope to the folks challenging the thing rather than broadcast to the general public.
Because if Mr. Blow did not, in fact, sign it, that’s a pretty heavy indictment to lay on him in public, and that places all the effort for getting it off on him.

And that might work out to not having anyone sign off on any petition for anything, including pro-rights referendums. Not how democracy is supposed to work. Although I'll cede it could be a useful tool (as mentioned above) for shame and so forth. I don't know that this justifies it though. And indeed, what if they are proud of their position, what shame would there be if they are the vast majority?

On the other hand that's pretty much all moot, at least to me, because screw the majority if they're hell bent on marginalizing the human rights of any minority.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:52 PM on September 1, 2009


Way to dodge the issue.

If you can empirically demonstrate that gays and lesbians pose the same violent threat to petition signers, as in the opposite case, then I think at that point we can begin to have a reasonable conversation.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:53 PM on September 1, 2009


If you can empirically demonstrate that gays and lesbians pose the same violent threat to petition signers, as in the opposite case, then we can have a reasonable conversation.

Again, as I already explained to you, imagine a GLBT positive petition. Do you really want their opponents to know who signed and where they live? Should the GLBT supporters be required to risk their safety and that of their familes to participate in the democratic process?

Is it really that hard for you to see that publishing names and addresses can cause harm and encourage people NOT to participate in democracy? We have secret ballots for a reason. We can have secret and verifiable petitions as well, for the same reasons.
posted by jsonic at 1:55 PM on September 1, 2009


posted by Blazecock Pileon there is not really a pattern of violence towards religious extremists by the GLBT community [...] If you can empirically demonstrate that gays and lesbians pose the same violent threat to petition signers, as in the opposite case, then I think at that point we can begin to have a reasonable conversation.

Completely irrelevant. But here are two.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Night_riots

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonewall_riots
posted by mattdidthat at 1:57 PM on September 1, 2009


Do you really want their opponents to know who signed and where they live? Should the GLBT supporters be required to risk their safety and that of their familes to participate in the democratic process?

As someone who would sign that petition, I have no problem putting my name abd address to it, if that is what it would require. A lot of participation in public policymaking requires you to be visible about your politics.

The difference, as Blazecok pointed out, is that I am far more liable to suffer repercussions for doing this than someone on the other side is.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:57 PM on September 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


If you can empirically demonstrate that gays and lesbians pose the same violent threat to petition signers, as in the opposite case

Why does this even matter? We can't have a petitioning process that says "If your bill concerns a group that is the target of violence, we'll not release the names, otherwise we will".
posted by 0xFCAF at 1:57 PM on September 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Simply pointing out the perils of having your political opponents know where you and your family live.

I assure you, any homosexual person over the age of 25 who lives openly about their sexuality have learned lessons about this which you cannot begin to comprehend based on this limited conversation.
posted by hippybear at 1:58 PM on September 1, 2009


Completely irrelevant

You should understand that citing the Stonewall Riots as justification for withholding names is so ludicrous that it actually ends up proving the opposite point.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:59 PM on September 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


If you've got a bone to pick, spend that time and effort educating, not humiliating.

That's exactly why KnowThyNeighbor.org (which launched in Massachusetts after petitions were circulated, seeking to overturn same-sex marriage which first became legal here in May 2004). I am not aware of any reports of intimidation and people actually called folks they knew on the list to foster discussion.

Also, the list being public also helped to expose fradulent tactics that were being employed by a company hired to stand outside stores to collect signatures.
"Thousands may have been frauded by out-of-state, buck-a-signature petition circulators....Arno Political Consultants, a California company that has been questioned on using fraudulent tactics across the nation, to collect signatures for the anti-gay marriage petition. Arno bussed and flew in workers from around the country and paid them $1.50 for each signature they collected."*
posted by ericb at 1:59 PM on September 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


But it might also dissuade people from signing things that they know they don't want their names attached to because they're repugnant

You can use that same argument to attack the secret ballot as well.

And if a public petition is the only way to bring a vote on an issue, then you're kind of in Catch-22. In order to vote secretly, you have to publicly declare your support for the issue.
posted by jsonic at 2:00 PM on September 1, 2009


Is it really that hard for you to see that publishing names and addresses can cause harm and encourage people NOT to participate in democracy?

If you can empirically demonstrate that gays and lesbians pose the same violent threat to petition signers, as in the opposite case, then I think at that point we can begin to have a reasonable conversation about what exactly constitutes equivalent harm.

So far, you have not done this.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:01 PM on September 1, 2009


Most of you are missing the point with your hypotheticals. The law currently states that petitions are public, and not secret, and thus your hypothetical pro-homosexual petition would also be public. The situation vis-a-vis Ref. 71 is that the bigots are too cowardly to stand up and acknowledge that they're submitting this petition.
posted by explosion at 2:01 PM on September 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


Jesus, is anyone reading the links in the FPP at all?
Washington Families Standing Together says the secretary of state has not complied with the law in processing R-71. Signature gatherers are supposed to sign declarations saying that signatures they've collected are valid to the best of their knowledge and that they personally circulated the petition, the lawsuit says. Attorney David Burman said there were petitions with 2,058 signatures in which there was no name and no signature from the person collecting them.

The plaintiffs in the case also say the secretary of state was ignoring requirements that say only registered voters can sign petitions. The lawsuit says that on Aug. 17 Secretary of State Sam Reed told his staff to ignore the date in voter files as the voter registration date and accept signatures from people who were not cleared to vote when they signed.
There is a fight to be open about the signatures because people think the signatures were not legally acquired.



Is it really that hard for you to see that publishing names and addresses can cause harm and encourage people NOT to participate in democracy?


Yes, I too am startled at how much the amount of money donated to political campaigns has dipped over time because of the abject fear of having one's record of donations published.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:02 PM on September 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


I hate the referendum process as well, but i do believe that the voters of Wa. will uphold the everything but marriage statute. it's easy to whip up the fundy support enough to get the signatures needed to meet the threshold for putting their hate on the ballot, but even if all of those wacknuts vote it won't come close to the number of compassionate, clear minded progressives who will vote in favor of rights for partners.
It wouldn't surprise me at all to learn that all of this 'make the names public' hooplah isn't just a smokescreen to make the conservatives seem sympathetic.
Washington's demographics are different enough from California's that the same tactics that were used for prop 8 won't work here.
posted by OHenryPacey at 2:02 PM on September 1, 2009


If you can empirically demonstrate that gays and lesbians pose the same violent threat to petition signers, as in the opposite case, then I think at that point we can begin to have a reasonable conversation about what exactly constitutes equivalent harm.

To be clear, are you actually suggesting that there be a legal distinction made about this in order to decide which petitions have their signatures released? If not, why are you two still going back and forth on it?
posted by 0xFCAF at 2:05 PM on September 1, 2009


So far, you have not done this

What are you talking about?

I'm saying that publishing petition signatures can lead to retribution and dissuade people from participating in democracy. This is ESPECIALLY TRUE for GLBT who make their political opinions public.

How does the unequal threat potential between GLBT and their opponents impact my argument at all? If anything, it makes my point even more salient.
posted by jsonic at 2:06 PM on September 1, 2009


I assure you, any homosexual person over the age of 25 who lives openly about their sexuality have learned lessons about this which you cannot begin to comprehend based on this limited conversation.

As a gay person, I'd just like to speak up and disavow the us vs. them stuff going on in this thread (with no malice towards anyone on either side). I'd also like to say, hippybear, that you should know well enough that there's no singular gay experience, and it would probably be better for the discussion if you didn't attempt to speak for all gay folks everywhere.

I understand the caution on both sides. I exercise it in my daily life. I decide what I tell to whom about my life. That's not shame -- it's self-protection. I also understand that folks on the other side of the issue -- with whom I disagree as vehemently as possible -- don't want to be attacked for their (wrong-headed) beliefs any more than I want to be attacked for whom I choose to spend time with. I can't really blame them for that, as much as I hate what they're trying to do. They think they're right. They're not, but they think they are. Some serious education is in order, but I don't think it necessitates a physical address.

And I'd also like to say that I appreciate and acknowledge that that's the argument being made here by The Straights. *waves at The Straights.*
posted by mudpuppie at 2:07 PM on September 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


posted by Blazecock Pileon If you can empirically demonstrate that gays and lesbians pose the same violent threat to petition signers, as in the opposite case, then I think at that point we can begin to have a reasonable conversation about what exactly constitutes equivalent harm. So far, you have not done this.

There you go again--whether or not gays and lesbians pose a threat is totally irrelevant. And others have pointed out repeatedly in this thread, in the opposite situation--a petition for a pro-GLBT ballot issue--your name and the names of those who signed the petition would be available to the very people by whom you claim to feel threatened.
posted by mattdidthat at 2:08 PM on September 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yes, I too am startled at how much the amount of money donated to political campaigns has dipped over time because of the abject fear of having one's record of donations published.

I'm sure that eliminating the secret ballot would have positive results too. Doesn't necessarily make it a smart thing to do.
posted by jsonic at 2:09 PM on September 1, 2009


mudpuppie: I think you actually make my own point pretty well with your comment, where you say that you consciously pick and choose who you tell what about your life. If you were heterosexual, you would never think twice about that. You even name it "self-protection", which is the point I am trying to make. That being, when you are gay, you are confronted with choices about the political ramifications (using political broadly here) about your lifestyle and the risks it takes to live that life openly.

I know there is no singular gay experience, but your own words underscore mine, rather than contradict them.
posted by hippybear at 2:16 PM on September 1, 2009


To be clear, are you actually suggesting that there be a legal distinction made about this in order to decide which petitions have their signatures released?

This was actually the argument used to withhold names:

[Judge] Settle cited that absence in his written order, and he also gave what appears to be a nod to the strength of the referendum backers' case, writing that they "have sufficiently demonstrated a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits" of their First Amendment claim, and "a reasonable likelihood of irreparable harm if the names are released."

What this "irreparable harm" means is left to the imagination of 71's supporter and wife beater Larry Stickney:

"No petition signer should have to endure the threats and harassment I endured while circulating the petition," Stickney said.

Apparently there is no record of this numerous body of threats and harassment, though his word was good enough.

Protect Marriage Washington sued to block release of the names on constitutional grounds, claiming state disclosure law "chills free speech ... particularly when it is reasonably probable that those exercising their First Amendment rights would be subjected to threats and harassment."

What evidence constituted "reasonably probable" has yet to surface. Presumably, gays and lesbians beating up straight people would be national news. In lieu of that, we'll have to settle for hypotheticals from bigots.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:19 PM on September 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


There you go again--whether or not gays and lesbians pose a threat is totally irrelevant.

You're uninformed. But I wish you were there to tell it to Judge Settle. Your uninformed opinion might have made a difference.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:21 PM on September 1, 2009


ericb – so the list being public actually exposed fraudulent claims that someone signed. Hmm. That fraud affidavit form would be handy.
Still, the matter then is how the public information is used. Hmm…

“You can use that same argument to attack the secret ballot as well.” -jsonic

See though – you yourself initiate the ballot. In the case of a petition, someone else comes to you and asks you to put your chop on it. You’d have to balance the oversight on the petitioners with the privacy you might otherwise be entitled to. That dilemma doesn’t exist with a ballot. (Although with electronic voting there’s a whole other host of issues)
Yeah, I’d have to go with keeping it public because the state can’t determine before the fact how the information is going to be used – but it can enforce whether or not the signatures are real.
In the case of the threat to the GLBT folks, you still have the problem of determining before the fact the threat to any given individual weighed against defrauding the democratic process. I’d have to say take the hit in that case. It’s better that the state get an accurate picture of what citizens want then, by erring on the side of caution, be hoodwinked.

It’s an equalizer. In that you can’t have then, a special interest or a given individual or group with enough money to come in and override the will of the people with fake or forged names.
Determination as to how public information is used, well, your name and phone number are often public. If you speak in the press, your name is out there. The difference being that public information accurately represents your identity. Not necessarily so if petition information is privileged or confidential.

So if someone is going to attack me, let them attack me for what I honestly believe at least. And if all such information is above board, we’re all then subject to the same (potential) public excoriation.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:26 PM on September 1, 2009


Blazecock Pileon, would you sign a petition for a pro-GLBT issue, if you knew your name and address would be made public to anyone who wanted it, including anti-GLBT wingnuts?

Do you feel comfortable with anti-GLBT wingnuts having your name and address?

And if you are, can you understand that other GLBT folks might not want their names and addresses made available, and that will make getting signatures for a pro-GLBT petition much more difficult?
posted by mattdidthat at 2:29 PM on September 1, 2009


I think you actually make my own point pretty well with your comment.... I know there is no singular gay experience, but your own words underscore mine, rather than contradict them.

I'm totally fine with that. I didn't mean to contradict anyone here -- just trying to add some perspective.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:31 PM on September 1, 2009


Should a supporter of such a law be required to risk their personal safety, and that of their families, in order to participate in the democratic process?

Here's my take, for what it's worth.

Names on a petition to put a ballot initiative before the people should be public. Signing such a petition is not, in fact, an indication that the signer supports the aim of the initiative, only that it should be brought before the people to decide. I know it's often taken that way (as a sign of support for the initiative), and in cases where the initiative concerns the taking away/granting of civil rights to a particular group, it's probably safe to conclude that people who support the aim of the initiative are the ones who sign the petition.

But it's not the same as a ballot, which is secret, and should remain so. Ballots are secret not to protect you from the ire of your neighbors but from the ire of your government, which is quite a different animal altogether.

I think the names on petitions should be public. For me personally, it's a moot point; California's ballot initiative process is so thoroughly beyond fucked and corrupt that I don't sign any of those petitions, even for issues I agree with. I turn up at the polling place on election day instead.

As hot as the Prop 8 stuff was here in California, I never heard any reports of violence or vandalism directed against people whose names were public because they had given money for or against it. I'm not seeing the inevitable slippery slope.

And I'll bet dollars to donuts that more than half of the people who support the WA initiative and put their names on the petition will put yard signs in their yards and bumperstickers on their cars announcing how they're going to vote.
posted by rtha at 2:31 PM on September 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


....would you sign a petition for a pro-GLBT issue, if you knew your name and address would be made public to anyone who wanted it, including anti-GLBT wingnuts?

In my case I would ... as would my parents and siblings.

No fear here. No shame either. Pride, actually.

We're Here. We're Queer. Get Used to It!
posted by ericb at 2:32 PM on September 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Given that WA is probably a bluer state than NV, its kind of a surprise...

Generally speaking, Washington is blue to the west of the cascades and red to the east of them. There are little pockets of red in the blue half and blue in the red half, which sometimes leads to confusing collisions (viz. the Plan B embarrassment that centered on a conservative-run grocery store in relentlessly progressive Olympia) but, for the most part, the mountains divide the metropolitan west and rural east's politics pretty neatly. Neal Stephenson put it best in Cryptonomicon, and I'm gonna paraphrase here, but basically he said "Driving across the north cascades results in a context change that normally requires a nine-hour flight."

Not only are the political undercurrents quite different between east and west, there are also drastic contrasts in weather, industry, racial demographics, topography, church density and attendance rates - this state often feels like two. There's always been this tension between east and west in Washington, as we struggle to determine what shade of purple we shall become. Assuming R-71 doesn't get thrown out on account of the many, many apparently fraudulent signatures that bolstered the petition, we'll be deciding if we're a civilized state or not in November.

Oh, and while I am loathe to protect the bigots who signed this petition in any way whatsoever, there's a practical case to be made against releasing their names. During the petition drive, there were reports that canvassers were hitting up gay neighborhoods in Seattle and gathering signatures, passing off the measure as a "gay rights initiative." Sure hate for those poor dupes that signed to wind up having their information released.
posted by EatTheWeak at 2:34 PM on September 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


You're uninformed. But I wish you were there to tell it to Judge Settle. Your uninformed opinion might have made a difference.

Someone seems incapable of separating the specifics of this case from the meta-issue of publicly accessible petition signatures and addresses. The people arguing about the meta-issue aren't, necessarily, the bigot-lovers you want them to be.
posted by jsonic at 2:37 PM on September 1, 2009


Blazecock Pileon, would you sign a petition for a pro-GLBT issue, if you knew your name and address would be made public to anyone who wanted it, including anti-GLBT wingnuts?

If you can empirically demonstrate that gays and lesbians pose the same violent threat to petition signers, as in the opposite case, then I think at that point we can begin to have a reasonable conversation about what exactly constitutes equivalent harm.

So far, neither you nor jsonic have attempted to address this simple, straightforward request.

And, no, the Stonewall Riots are not representative of a campaign of violence against straight people.

So, if you'll be so kind as to answer the straightforward question that was put before you, I will be happy to respectfully answer yours.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:42 PM on September 1, 2009


EatTheWeak: You speak the truth about the different sides of the state. Greets from Spokane!
posted by hippybear at 2:45 PM on September 1, 2009


Someone seems incapable of separating the specifics of this case from the meta-issue of publicly accessible petition signatures and addresses.

Actually, mattdidthat made that connection for you, with his very first comment in this thread.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:46 PM on September 1, 2009


hippybear, while the wording of the referendum is clear, I worry that confusion will be a factor in the vote. Gay rights supporters waged a "Decline to Sign" campaign to try to keep R-71 off the ballot. However, now that it will most-likely be on the ballot, it needs to be approved. A yes vote affirms the law and expands the domestic partnership law to grant near-equal legal standing to domestic partners.

I think because of the "Decline to Sign" campaing and association with Prop. 8, there is a lot of confusion if people should vote 'yes' or 'no'. I have heard and read many marriage equality supporters make comments like "no prop 8 here, vote no on R 71!". eep!
posted by chupacabra at 2:48 PM on September 1, 2009


Seattle has a pretty tight mayor's race on this same ballot. I wonder if McGinn and/or Mallahan will come anywhere near Ref 71.
posted by gurple at 2:49 PM on September 1, 2009


Let Me Google That For Myself:
McGinn on 71
Mallahan on 71
posted by gurple at 2:51 PM on September 1, 2009


Heh. Hello from Oly, hippybear! When I lived in Spokane, there was this panhandler dude who played brilliant flute downtown. On quiet days, you could hear it for blocks. He still there?
posted by EatTheWeak at 2:54 PM on September 1, 2009


So far, neither you nor jsonic have attempted to address this simple, straightforward request.

Because it has nothing to do with the arguments we're advancing.

I'll even grant you the implication you're aiming for: lets assume GLBT people have never attacked their opponents and pose no threat to them. That still has no bearing on the meta-issue of whether or not having a public record of citizens political opinions tied to their home addresses is good or bad idea.

Again, you're failing to separate this specific instance from the larger issue. The grownups are talking about one thing. Your vehemently yelling at them about something unrelated.
posted by jsonic at 3:01 PM on September 1, 2009


Actually, mattdidthat made that connection for you, with his very first comment in this thread.

Actually, he didn't. He gave you an example of how public petition addresses could be a very bad thing for GLBT people. Which makes you incessant insistence on asking us to show how violent their opponents are all the more strange.
posted by jsonic at 3:06 PM on September 1, 2009


“…would you sign a petition for a pro-GLBT issue, if you knew your name and address would be made public to anyone who wanted it, including anti-GLBT wingnuts?”

The flip side of that though is not would the anti-GLBT want their names and addresses made public, but rather, would you sign a petition for anything if you knew your name and address could be misrepresented for any given referendum if *not* publicly accessible?
And too – wouldn’t you have the right to see if your own name is on a given petition for referendum? By definition it’s circulated publicly, it’d have to be public in some respects. I'd think control over one’s own name trumps the security issues in either regard.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:11 PM on September 1, 2009


a public record of citizens political opinions tied to their home addresses

But that's not what the petitions are. They are a public record of people who think the initiative should be brought before citizens for a vote.

How is it different from people who put signs in their yards? Both behaviors are voluntary.
posted by rtha at 3:12 PM on September 1, 2009


Because it has nothing to do with the arguments we're advancing.

Actually, deciding the harm caused by publicly expressing an opinion is a matter that different people have to decide on their own merits.

Your equating the harm caused to GLBT by bigots with the harm caused to bigots by GLBT is factually wrong and offensive.

You've been asked to defend this equivalence with any kind of evidence and you haven't. Instead, you act condescending and try to shuffle the conversation elsewhere.

This leads me to suspect that you don't really understand the complications and issues at hand.

The grownups are talking about one thing.

That's the first time you've been right this entire thread, but probably not in the way you intended.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:15 PM on September 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Actually, he didn't.

Actually, he did.

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:17 PM on September 1, 2009


I say this as a hetrosexual, white male.

I'll sign a petition in favour of gay rights. Let them publish my name and address with it to. If an employer doesn't want me as an employee because I believe in equal rights for all then fuck em. I'd rather work a shifty nightfill job than for some bigoted fuckwit.

Go ahead because I want to know who the bigots are. I want to know so I don't patronize their stores, so I can marginalize them in my own life and yes, so I can humiliate them in the public discourse.

You only feel shame if you know what you're doing is wrong and you go ahead and do it anyway. And as much as I hate compromise on equal rights, IMHO this is the lesser of two evils.
posted by Talez at 3:25 PM on September 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


They are a public record of people who think the initiative should be brought before citizens for a vote.

Just look at Prop 8. I think it's pretty straightforward to assume that those who signed the petition to bring Prop 8 to the ballot also voted for it. Depends on the petition, I guess.

How is it different from people who put signs in their yards? Both behaviors are voluntary.

Currently, I can vote on an issue without necessarily putting a sign in my front yard. It's my choice whether or not to make my opinion public by using a yard sign. I'd like to be able to vote for what issues are on the ballot as well, without making my political opinions a matter of public record.

The "make public" part of the petition is to make sure that the signatures are valid. It seems we could solve that issue in many other ways without resorting to a public record of people's political opinions.

I recognize the arguments people are making in support of keeping them public. I'm just making some points about the costs of doing so.
posted by jsonic at 3:28 PM on September 1, 2009


Your equating the harm caused to GLBT by bigots with the harm caused to bigots by GLBT is factually wrong and offensive.

Completely FALSE. I never equated the two. In fact I specifically gave you an example where GLBT people would be harmed by bigots due to having their addresses and politics made public.
posted by jsonic at 3:32 PM on September 1, 2009


EatTheWeak: sadly, the only time there are any buskers or street musicians at ALL downtown anymore are on specially appointed charity fund-raising days. My feelings about that are mixed -- I'm happy not to be harassed with beggars looking for change or a cigarette all the time, but I think it lacks some of the depth and texture provided by spontaneous encounters with artists which are common in other cities.

(for the record, I live in Cheney, but when I say that, people think I've crawled up the ex-VP's butt or something, whom I wouldn't touch even with someone else's 10-foot pole.)
posted by hippybear at 3:34 PM on September 1, 2009


I recognize the arguments people are making in support of keeping them public. I'm just making some points about the costs of doing so.

Seriously, any gay or lesbian who lives life outside the closet already knows the risks of being public with their beliefs and lifestyle. Signing a petition which has addresses published on a website is not going to deter most of them. You may feel there are costs directly associated with such an act. I tell you, there are costs in daily life for GLBT persons which far outweigh the fears to which you elude.
posted by hippybear at 3:37 PM on September 1, 2009


Signing a petition which has addresses published on a website is not going to deter most of them.

Speaking for all (most) gay people again?
posted by jsonic at 3:40 PM on September 1, 2009


I can certainly speak for the pool wherein I have had a lot of interaction, because I know how they react to these situations. And I think that it can be fairly extrapolated from there, not scientifically, but certainly within broad strokes.

The gays and lesbians whom I know that are likely to care enough about civil rights and equality issues to sign a petition are not likely to be deterred by the publicizing of that signature.

Is that good enough for you? You seem to be speaking in very broad terms about the supposed threats signers of such a petition can face. Are you speaking for all who oppose gay rights, in that you insinuate that all public GLBT persons should fear violence from them? Because that seems to be the undercurrent of your statements.
posted by hippybear at 3:46 PM on September 1, 2009


Are you speaking for all who oppose gay rights, in that you insinuate that all public GLBT persons should fear violence from them? Because that seems to be the undercurrent of your statements.

What? Who said I'm speaking AT ALL for those who oppose gay rights?

I think you and BP are spoiling for a fight with proponents of this petition. None have showed up in this thread, so you decided to argue with anyone who isn't happy about having their address and political opinions a matter of public record.
posted by jsonic at 3:50 PM on September 1, 2009


I'd like to be able to vote for what issues are on the ballot as well, without making my political opinions a matter of public record.

This is where we differ. Perhaps if California had a sane ballot initiative process (is such a thing possible? I have no idea), I'd be in favor of a ballot initiative process. As it stands, I'd rather we go back to the old-fashioned way of doing things: legislator proposes a law, constituents call/write to say "Great idea!" or "Are you out of your mind?" and then the law does or does not get passed.

Direct legislating from the ballot box is a completely insane way of trying to run a state the size of California. All most people ever grok from a guy with a clipboard asking them to sign a petition to put an initiative on the ballot is "Class sizes should be smaller," or "Property taxes should be lower," or "Marriage needs to be protected from the ravening hordes," and they're happy to have their ignorance catered to. Yuck.

In any case, getting an initiative on the ballot via the petition process is not the only way open to you to getting a law passed. Gather your friends and neighbors, do your research, and talk to your representatives.
posted by rtha at 3:50 PM on September 1, 2009


I specifically gave you an example where GLBT people would be harmed by bigots due to having their addresses and politics made public.

I'm sorry. someone else just have written that, then.
posted by hippybear at 3:51 PM on September 1, 2009


posted by Blazecock Pileon Your equating the harm caused to GLBT by bigots with the harm caused to bigots by GLBT is factually wrong and offensive.

There you go again, with your typical pattern of dishonesty and dodging-the-question tactics when you're backed into a corner with your inconsistencies.

You're arguing petition signers' names and addresses should be made public. You must then understand that your name and address will be made public if you sign a petition, and would therefore be available to the very people by whom you claim to feel threatened.

You've indicated that you would not be comfortable with anti-GLBT wingnuts knowing your name and address, but here's your opportunity to declare otherwise. In either case, you're either incapable of understanding the ramifications of making the signers' names and addresses public, or you're too dishonest to admit you want the privacy you think others should be denied.
posted by mattdidthat at 3:52 PM on September 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Argh, meant to hit preview, not post.

Direct legislating from the ballot box is a completely insane way of trying to run a state the size of California. This should read Direct legislating from the ballot box is a completely insane way of trying to run a state the size of California, especially when it's largely dependent on who has the biggest bucks backing them up.
posted by rtha at 3:52 PM on September 1, 2009


Are you speaking for all who oppose gay rights, in that you insinuate that all public GLBT persons should fear violence from them? Because that seems to be the undercurrent of your statements.

Oh snap!
posted by Talez at 3:56 PM on September 1, 2009


I'm sorry. someone else just have written that, then.

LOL. I actually have no idea what you're arguing about now. You've stated multiple times that GLBT people are subject to violence. I gave an example where signing a petition would make the addresses of GLBT petition signers public.

It's an attempt to show that this issue is a double-edged sword: its great when you can use it to out bigots, but can also be painful when the bigots use it against GLBT people.
posted by jsonic at 3:58 PM on September 1, 2009


One side of that double-edged sword is and always has been much sharper than the other, I wonder which that is.
posted by june made him a gemini at 4:02 PM on September 1, 2009


In fact I specifically gave you an example where GLBT people would be harmed by bigots due to having their addresses and politics made public.

. . . as an argument against making bigots' names and addresses public. To wit:

Imagine the opposite scenario [emph. added]

Within the confines of this thread's subject matter, you are suggesting that names should be withheld because making the information publicly available would lead opposing parties to be violent. Again, your words:

Especially when those opponents have a tendency towards violence.

If an interested party -- gays and lesbians, for example -- should not have access to those names because of a tendency towards violence, if that's the main basis of your argument, then you'll need to establish that there is a chronic and targeted pattern of violence towards opinionated people by said party.

Which, as I've noted time and again, you and mattdidthat will not and cannot demonstrate. (Except, perhaps, with a really bizarre reference to the Stonewall Riots. Which is kooky enough to bear mentioning again. Just, wow.)
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:02 PM on September 1, 2009


There you go again, with your typical pattern of dishonesty and dodging-the-question tactics when you're backed into a corner with your inconsistencies.

LOL. You just cannot answer a simple, honest question put to you, so you're in no place to throw insults at anyone.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:05 PM on September 1, 2009


posted by hippybear The gays and lesbians whom I know that are likely to care enough about civil rights and equality issues to sign a petition are not likely to be deterred by the publicizing of that signature.

But there may be--and probably are--a larger number of people (GLBT and otherwise) who care about civil rights but do not want their names and addresses and political positions a matter of public record. Among other things, this means getting signatures for controversial but important issues--which tend to be in the minority--would be much more difficult and would therefore have a slimmer chance of getting put on the ballot.
posted by mattdidthat at 4:05 PM on September 1, 2009


Wow, BP. Your misreading skills are impressive.

That entire comment, the "opposite" scenario, is to show that bigots can use the public information to harass and intimidate GLBT people.

I still have no idea how you're twisting it to make it seem like I'm arguing that gay people are violent.
posted by jsonic at 4:06 PM on September 1, 2009


This derail is getting kind of obnoxious. JSonic is being obstinately devils-advocate-y just to rile up Blazecock, who is rising to it by just repeating the same things over again, but neither is actually making points that related to what one another is saying.

JSonic, I will posit that any political position that cannot muster even a small cadre of people willing to publicly declare that it should be on the ballot, should not be on the ballot. You can't bring yourself to express your opinion in public? Then wait for the vote. Not enough people are willing to express that opinion in public? Then it's just not important enough to be on the ballot.

Public petitions rather than secret or anonymous petitions keep people honest, and keep the ballot serious. 4Chan members are a lot less likely to petition for a referendum that they "herd u liek LOLCATS so we put a LOLCAT in ur ballit so u can LOL while u poll" if they have to attach their real names to it.
posted by explosion at 4:08 PM on September 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mattdidthat is only mad about people publishing petition signers' names and addresses because it's the one thing he forgot to steal and put on a t-shirt.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 4:09 PM on September 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


gays and lesbians, for example -- should not have access to those names because of a tendency towards violence, if that's the main basis of your argument

That's not my argument or mattdidthat's.
posted by jsonic at 4:10 PM on September 1, 2009


Wow, BP. Your misreading skills are impressive.

I'm not misreading anything you've written. Not a word. And I find it incredible how you and mattdidthat can keep straining to change your arguments.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:10 PM on September 1, 2009


*sigh* Okay, this will be my last for a while.

I'm saying that GLBT people who live their lives openly have, in my experience, largely already come to terms with the idea that there are people out there in the world who want to do them harm simply because they exist. The choices made by those amongst this group, in my experience, have led me to believe that they make choices to be public with their sexuality despite the potential threats to their persons. Also, in my experience, this group of people would not be deterred by the same potential public "outing" of them being in support of gay and lesbian causes, largely because they have already weighed these risks and have decided that it is better to live openly, knowing full well that their daily lives are full of what could be considered to be "political choices", and simply putting one's name on a petition is not going to change the risk to their daily lives. They have incorporated this, and are okay with it.

You continue to state that there are risks to be had when one's political enemies discovers one's name and address, with the base insinuation that this will lead to violence against an individual and his/her family once that person can be pinpointed on a map. You say that this sword can do equal harm to politically active GLBT individuals as it can to their political enemies, should the situation be reversed.

I will continue to argue that most GLBT people who are politically active enough to sign such a petition, within my sphere of experience, are not at all worried about such things, because they have already had to make the difficult decisions about whether to live their lives openly. The bigots, which you seem to have knowledge about how much harm they will do GLBT people, have much more to fear, because they have never had to face many of these issues before.

Furthermore, I posit, along with BP, that the GLBT community is NOT going to start setting houses on fire or throwing rocks through windows, or even accosting these bigots who may have their names revealed because of public records laws. Experience (not my own, that of California and the publicizing of Prop 8 records) has shown this to be the case.

My end summary: perhaps it is a double-edged sword, but it is one where the potential threat has already been weighed and overcome by the loathed minority which, in this instance, is being threatened with continued second-class citizen status. And the threat to those who wish to keep that group in said status is only being expressed out of fear and not based on any real experience whatsoever.
posted by hippybear at 4:10 PM on September 1, 2009


Not enough people are willing to express that opinion in public? Then it's just not important enough to be on the ballot.

So basically, any minority group that fears retribution should just keep their mouth shut. There are ways to keep 4chan-esque petitions from succeeding without requiring that your political opinions by tied to your name and address.
posted by jsonic at 4:13 PM on September 1, 2009


posted by jsonic I still have no idea how you're twisting it to make it seem like I'm arguing that gay people are violent.

This is typical dishonesty for Blazecock Pileon. When he's backed into a corner with his inconsistencies, he dodges the issue and then demands an answer to a question that's totally irrelevant, and then claims you're trying to change the argument that he himself is attempting to evade.
posted by mattdidthat at 4:14 PM on September 1, 2009


I'm not misreading anything you've written. Not a word

LOL. Feel free to point out the specific line where I said gay people are violent.
posted by jsonic at 4:15 PM on September 1, 2009


That's not my argument or mattdidthat's.

Mattdidthat was asked to provide an example of gays being violent and dangerous, and instead of saying that that was not relevant to his point, he cited the STONEWALL RIOTS. I kind of hope he just googled "gay throws punch" and linked the first thing that came up, because if he's honestly using that event as an argument for his side of the point with even a wiki-level understanding of what actually happened, then I don't know. That might be the most ludicrous thing ever on mefi and that's counting the entirety of the Great Orange Juice Coupon Incident.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 4:15 PM on September 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm not going to respond to mattdidthat's trolling, because it seems clear now that he was trying to goad a response from the start.

I thought he would be discussing the matter in good faith and would answer my simple, direct question honestly. My apologies to all for falling for his trolling.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:19 PM on September 1, 2009


Furthermore, I posit, along with BP, that the GLBT community is NOT going to start setting houses on fire or throwing rocks through windows, or even accosting these bigots who may have their names revealed because of public records laws.

Why are you guys incapable of realizing that we are NOT SAYING THIS? I'm saying that making petition info public can be used to hurt people. It's a generic statement. I'm not saying that gay people are gonna hurt the bigots in this case.

And since it can be used to intimidate people, we shouldn't publish it. Yes, in this case that will protect the bigots. But there are a myriad of other possibilities where minority groups would be protected and allowed to participate in democracy without fear of retribution.
posted by jsonic at 4:22 PM on September 1, 2009


I missed that one Gorilla, so I'll restate: "That's not my argument."
posted by jsonic at 4:23 PM on September 1, 2009


Ah yes, I forgot another part of Blazecock Pileon's technique: When someone proves him wrong or points out his inconsistencies, Blazecock Pileon accuses him or her of trolling. All we need now is Blazecock's trademark "Go away!", and we'll be done.
posted by mattdidthat at 4:23 PM on September 1, 2009


So basically, any minority group that fears retribution should just keep their mouth shut.

What? Is the ballot initiative the only way to get laws passed in your state?
posted by rtha at 4:27 PM on September 1, 2009


posted by jsonic since it can be used to intimidate people, we shouldn't publish it. Yes, in this case that will protect the bigots. But there are a myriad of other possibilities where minority groups would be protected and allowed to participate in democracy without fear of retribution.

This, yes.

In this case, not publishing the names protects the bigots.

In other cases, not publishing the names protects you from the bigots.
posted by mattdidthat at 4:29 PM on September 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


All we need now is Blazecock's trademark "Go away!", and we'll be done.

You're not done, I suspect. Not by a long shot.

I'm actually glad you didn't answer my question and I'm glad you keep poking, as it keeps proving my point about your behavior.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:36 PM on September 1, 2009


By mattdidthat:

"posted by Blazecock Pileon: there is not really a pattern of violence towards religious extremists by the GLBT community [...]If you can empirically demonstrate that gays and lesbians pose the same violent threat to petition signers, as in the opposite case, then I think at that point we can begin to have a reasonable conversation."

Completely irrelevant. But here are two.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Night_riots

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonewall_riots


mattdidthat, I don't give a fuck what your position is on gay rights. However, claiming that White Night riots or the Stonewall riots are two examples of a pattern of violence towards religious extremists by the GLBT community is not only factually wrong, but a disgusting claim to make. I recognize this kind of reasoning, the same kinds of vile lies and distortions were used by the racists who claimed that the civil rights protesters were a threat to public order. You picked the examples, and you made the claims, and you painted your own portrait.
posted by VikingSword at 5:09 PM on September 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


In this case, not publishing the names protects the bigots.

In other cases, not publishing the names protects you from the bigots.


The assumption that bigotry resides in those people rather than in every last person on the damn planet -- including, yes, you, and whichever communities you identify with -- is pretty dangerous.

I'm willing to believe that being different, being part of a harassed minority makes many gays and lesbians more empathetic and tolerance less likely to employ violence. Maybe even most of them. But if you take the view that they're still just human beings (rather than, I don't know, vibrating gatekeepers to another world), then they'll do things that human beings do, and that sometimes includes violence or discrimination.

You think you wouldn't do it? You wouldn't ever be tempted in the slightest? Think about it. You're hiring for a job. A qualified candidate comes up, but you find they've supported a political position that you oppose deeply. Maybe it's even one that affects you personally, or people close to you. In fact, the more you think about it, the issue is so clear to you, and you wonder how any intelligent or moral human being could hold that position. It really says something about this candidate that they do, right? And there's other qualified candidates... no need to make much fuss or think too much about this, let's just put this on the shelf while we look a little more closely at these others. And the more we look at these others, the more it's obvious that really, they've simply got positive qualities we didn't see in that other guy. It could've been a conflicted decision, but now it's just a no-brainer. One of these others is simply better for the job...

There might be good reasons for having some information related to democratic participation be available and in particular verifiable, but don't pretend that any group of people doesn't have the capacity to use this badly sometimes.
posted by namespan at 5:12 PM on September 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


posted by Blazecock Pileon I thought he would be discussing the matter in good faith and would answer my simple, direct question honestly.

As you've been repeatedly told, your question was irrelevant, and is part of your typical dishonest and evasive MO, which you've once again demonstrated here by refusing to answer relevant questions and discuss the topic honestly.
posted by mattdidthat at 5:12 PM on September 1, 2009


In this case, not publishing the names protects the bigots.

In other cases, not publishing the names protects you from the bigots.


Conveniently, it just so happens that only the bigots are asking for this sort of special protection. Fancy that.

If you want to go the petition route, the names are out there. Otherwise, you can write your legislature, or better yet, run for office so that others can vote for you on a bigoted platform. People in this thread have given plenty of reasons why it's a good idea for the names to be public, whereas you just keep waving this idea of retribution around, despite there being no actual threat of violence against petitioners.
posted by explosion at 5:13 PM on September 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


posted by namespan don't pretend that any group of people doesn't have the capacity to use this badly sometimes.

Which is exactly why the names should not be made publc.
posted by mattdidthat at 5:15 PM on September 1, 2009


Can we get rid of the secret ballot while we're at it? We can switch to an Iowa-style caucus system for all major democratic decisions.
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:17 PM on September 1, 2009


posted by namespan don't pretend that any group of people doesn't have the capacity to use this badly sometimes.

Which is exactly why the names should not be made publc.


Shit, by that logic, we need to outlaw guns NOW.
posted by explosion at 5:26 PM on September 1, 2009


White Night riots? Stonewall? Those are the examples of anti anti-gay violence?

As VikingSword said, this wildly and absurdly historicially incorrect.

....And even if it weren't: the glbt community has been legally and socially shit on for...ever, and all you can come up with are two riots? Really?

Did you actually read those links? Did you find anywhere in them information about how the riots were against religious extremists, and that the homes of those extremists were attacked and vandalized? I'm pretty sure you didn't.

I think you cared more about scoring a point against BP than you did about making a defensible argument on that particular point, and I think that's a shame.
posted by rtha at 5:34 PM on September 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yes, you're right. Mine was an obnoxious and idiotic answer to Blazecock Pileon's idiotic and irrelevant question, and I shouldn't have responded with that. I apologize.
posted by mattdidthat at 5:57 PM on September 1, 2009


mattdidthat, you seem to have stopped addressing points and started to address Blazcock's rhetorical technique. May I suggest that this is when it is time to step away from the keyboard?
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:16 PM on September 1, 2009


Thanks, Matt.

see you at the next meetup - I might not make the one on the 12th, but definitely cortex's!
posted by rtha at 6:19 PM on September 1, 2009


There's about four different arguments going on here, although some people seem to be willfully misunderstanding that.

Argument 1: Signing a petition should be a matter of public record in all cases. All people who support any cause should be willing to stand up and be counted for it, if they really believe in it. That is, in fact, the point of a petition -- publicly showing your support for a cause.

(Counterargument: Support for a political cause should in some or all cases be protected by privacy rights, to prevent retribution or pressure to show support for a particular cause. The same principle that applies to secret ballot voting should apply to some or all petitions, especially those which are legal necessities for getting an issue up for a vote, which are qualitatively very different from those which are simply statements of public support.)

Argument 2: Signing of petition should be a matter of public record in some cases but not others. If there is no reasonable cause to believe the signers will face retribution from those requesting the information, there is no reason to keep the matter secret. In cases where there has been a history of violence or discrimination, keeping the names secret may be necessary.

(Counterargument: This seems like allowing some groups protection that are not afforded to all. How can you realistically make a determination of which groups are "reasonably" at risk, and which groups are not? Surely either the same privacy rights should be accorded to all groups or no groups -- either because it is possible for any group to potentially face discrimination for their beliefs, or because some day the decision will come down to release names that actually are at risk because of this potential hole in the privacy wall.)

Side note -- Argument 2 is the ONLY argument in which the issue of whether gays have a history of violence against evangelicals is relevant, and then only for those who are on the side of Argument 2, since who discriminates against who is then relevant to which names are released or when. Anyone who is making the Counterargument to 2 or ANY of the other arguments sees the issue as wholly irrelevant, since it has no bearing on what they are saying. Only those making Argument 2 and debating its ramifications on this particular case view the question as key.

Argument 3: Signing of ballot petitions should never be a matter of public record. Since it is a legal necessity for certain purposes, it effectively makes a private issue (political beliefs) a public matter if you want to participate in certain forms of direct democracy. This goes against long-established secret ballot principles and is at best a dangerous slippery slope -- and at worst actively encouraging reprisals, discrimination, or outright lynching for political opinion.

(Counterargument: There are many ways to participate in democracy beyond such petitions, and there is a long history of public political information, such as campaign contributions, as well as private political information, such as secret ballots. There are legitimate reasons for allowing such information to be public record, ranging from enabling private investigation of a petition signature system that is often rife with fraud, to enabling people to make informed decisions about the businesses the patronize, just as campaign contribution records sometimes do.)

Argument 4: All of this is irrelevant and you are all nuts. Ballot petitions have to be a matter of public record so that the signatures can be verified, as is required by law. None of this has anything to do with identifying individuals as supporting a political cause.

(Counterargument: That may be so, but it can nonetheless result in unintended consequences which should be discussed. It is possible to have a public identification system that allows for private results, as happens with voting, if we wish to choose to implement it.)

So ... yeah. Please check to see if you are having the same discussion as the person you are talking to.
posted by kyrademon at 6:21 PM on September 1, 2009 [7 favorites]


Argument 5: Washington's referendum system is almost solely used for evil. Anything that breaks this system is good.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:26 PM on September 1, 2009


(Counterargument: Monorail.)
posted by mattdidthat at 6:28 PM on September 1, 2009


Counter counter argument: Tim Eyman
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:33 PM on September 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


To (hopefully) augment kyrademon’s explication:

“And the argument in support of withholding names requires such a pattern to exist, or some kind of precedent or other information that you know does not exist, either.”

Well, first of all let’s not pretend that public information going the other way couldn’t lead to violence in the GLBT community even if, perhaps especially if it’s not performed (albeit there’s an argument for it being initiated and sustained) by bigots.

Just because one doesn’t agree with the rectitude of something (and I don’t either) doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist as a factor.

Secondly, we can't simply obviate the concept of equal rights under the law when its socially convenient.
Certainly exceptions can be argued in certain instances – but in this case the opinion is that (generally) the signatures are private and WhoSigned.Org wants to make them public.

And there was a (apparently conveniently timed) law being proposed to explicitly make them private based on the potential chilling effect that this may have.
The opposing argument proposed (by whosigned, et.al) is that it would allow a majority of Washington voters to advocate against minorities in secret.

Sort of a moot point since it never made it out of committee.

But the matter of the threat of violence here in terms of “double edged sword” is pointless since only these particular petitioner’s names - signatories of Referendum 71 - would be revealed by whosigned. (Or at least that’s the way it reads – I think giving folks a way to report when their signature is in error or their name has been used fraudulently is pretty important, generally speaking. If it’s being done only for this, then it’s not out of a principle of equality, whatever other laudable goals there might be, and indeed, are).

So if this is indeed the case (maybe I'm reading it wrong) and it is only this, then yes, the only potential threat (if any) is to the people signing this particular petition.

While I disagree with jsonic as to what constitutes acceptable risk as weighed against public fraud (et.al), and I agree that his argument is not related to Blazecock Pileon’s question (even as I agree with Blazecock Pileon’s premise that the GLBT community has more to fear from the religious nuts than vice versa), I have to say that the entire question (even were it jsonic’s premise) is moot because no one in the GLBT community would be at risk from this since it’s solely aimed at this petition and set, in that regard, as contrary to the proposed law.

So while the law may be good or bad in the abstract, which is what jsonic (et.al.) is debating, the reality of this specific instance, which is what Blazecock Pileon (et.al) is debating – is that the relative dangers being debated is only being risked by one group in any case.
Only the folks that signed this petition.

And indeed, the case still holds that they do suffer risk, at the very least, of their reputation – especially if they want a vote on it and do not in fact support it.
I don’t know what “shaming” entails. Doesn’t sound unlike a threat.

While I think my arguments still hold regarding the need to make all petition information at least semi-public, I can’t support singling out one particular petition for public scrutiny and not allowing it for others.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:35 PM on September 1, 2009


jsonic: "And if a public petition is the only way to bring a vote on an issue, then you're kind of in Catch-22. In order to vote secretly, you have to publicly declare your support for the issue."

In order to vote secretly, some number of people need to declare their support for the issue, in public and in full view of their neighbors, coworkers, and everyone else in society. If you can't get some minimum number of people to be willing to stand up and do that, then maybe it's not a question that should even be put to a secret ballot.

It's a check-and-balance. People should be given the opportunity to vote in secret, but only on proposals that aren't so heinous that nobody will openly admit to supporting them. If you can't get 10 or 20 thousand people to say "yes, I support this and want to attach my name to it," maybe it shouldn't move forward to a vote at all.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:48 PM on September 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yes, you're right. Mine was an obnoxious and idiotic answer to Blazecock Pileon's idiotic and irrelevant question, and I shouldn't have responded with that. I apologize.

Your apology would be far more credible if it wasn't wrapped around continuing attacks against Blazecock Pileon. As it stands, it sounds like the schoolyard equivalent "but he started it first".

Here's a clue for you: regardless of provocation, you should never ever resort to the kind of vile statements as you made. When arguing with a Jewish person, do you resort to naked anti-Semitism? When arguing with anybody, don't resort to statements which are homophobic. Regardless of whether BP is right or wrong, what you did is was disgusting, and your continuing to bring BP into it as if it's some kind of context is a cowardly maneuver and undermines your "apology".

Apologies work, and are believable, when they are unreserved. Yours, is patently not. FAIL.
posted by VikingSword at 6:55 PM on September 1, 2009


More on the petition shenanigans of the bigot dirtbags behind this Referendum 71, from the Snohomish Examiner:

"In their written argument, the group asserts that on the day the petitions were being turned over to the SoS's office, volunteers were hastily stamping the backs of petitions with a facsimile of Larry Stickney's signature."
posted by EatTheWeak at 6:59 PM on September 1, 2009


If I sign a petition to put something on the ballot, go ahead and publish my address. Signing a petition to change the law shouldn't be an act for cowards.
posted by maxwelton at 7:20 PM on September 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think you cared more about scoring a point against BP than you did about making a defensible argument on that particular point, and I think that's a shame.

Pretty much this. I'm thankful others notice it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:28 PM on September 1, 2009


What is the point of the petition process? Is it so you can make a public stand for your causes? Or is it to just set a minimum bar so that every crazy idea doesn't go to vote? If it was created for the second reason, why impose the first on it?
posted by smackfu at 7:36 PM on September 1, 2009


I don't think anyone knows how this will turn out. Most everyone thought that there was no way these guys would get enough signatures to qualify, and even some of the megachurches in suburban Seattle wanted nothing to do with this petition. But aside from the shenanigans, they managed to tap a group that no one figured on -- Russian immigrants, both Orthodox and Pentecostal, who they were able to register to vote while signing the petition.

Will it pass? I don't think any of us know. Yeah, the McGinn/Mallahan mayoral showdown could pull the liberals out in force, but McGinn is as electrifying as a glass insulator, and Mallahan is a corporate manager who is a stuffed shirt. Susan Hutchison could pull the King County Republicans out if they see this as their one chance to seize control of the county, but she'll also bring the Seattle liberals out in droves to vote against her.

Basically, if King County votes more than 65% for something, it passes. And the two biggest elections this turn are in King County. And if the people of Seattle see this
as a moral crusade, they will show up to vote for R-71.

But given how outgunned and outmaneuvered the disparate Prop 8
opponents were, and given how disparate the Prop 8 supporters are right now, there are many reasons to worry.
posted by dw at 8:03 PM on September 1, 2009


But given how outgunned and outmaneuvered the disparate Prop 8
opponents were, and given how disparate the Prop 8 supporters are right now, there are many reasons to worry.


Pretty much. If I had my way I would have been showing ads.

Cutting reasonably quickly between happy families of gay couples (black, white, asian, hispanic) on a white background set using Jamiroquai's "Don't give hate a chance" as the backing music then fading to black with the slogan "Don't give H8 a chance" in white lettering with the "H8" part in red lettering. Longer ads would have a short secondary emotive statement at the 15 second mark like "don't tear our family apart" and then doing the fade to black again.
posted by Talez at 8:30 PM on September 1, 2009


there's a practical case to be made against releasing their names. During the petition drive, there were reports that canvassers were hitting up gay neighborhoods in Seattle and gathering signatures, passing off the measure as a "gay rights initiative." Sure hate for those poor dupes that signed to wind up having their information released.

This sounds to me like a great case FOR releasing the names. If my name had been misused by these people, I'd sure as hell want to a) know and b) make some sort of legal challenge invalidating the petition.
posted by naoko at 8:45 PM on September 1, 2009


naoko - I can see that, yeah. Sounds like a lottabuncha shady shit went into filling in those petitions, and by rights Judge Spector had better toss the whole mess out tomorrow. I'd just hate for anyone who signed thinking this was for equality getting swept up in an anti-anti-equality backlash.
posted by EatTheWeak at 9:02 PM on September 1, 2009


Neither here nor there, but should the fine folks from the Rainbow Coalition choose to lampoon us non-LGBT folks for any reason, can I suggest the term "The Straights" over the other honorific, "breeders"? Not that I'd feel offended by "breeder", just that being one of "The Straights" sounds a _bit more_ cool.

Also, kudos to WA and CA for successfully proving why direct-democracy is a massive FAIL. That is all.

posted by the cydonian at 9:53 PM on September 1, 2009


As someone who has had his name published on a list of "homosexual activists" because I gave money to a state election, I'm kind of personally annoyed whenever those who want to prevent me from having the right to marry want to hide their identities.

This is a continuing trend. In the prop 8 campaign last year, there was evidence that various groups gave money to the Yes on 8 campaign without reporting it (the Mormon church even admitted to spending money, well after the reporting deadlines). There was a lawsuit shortly after the Prop 8 election to try and keep Prop 8 supporters' identities secret, paid for by people involved with the Yes on 8 campaign.

In both Iowa and Maine, the National Organization for Marriage is being threatened with investigation for acting like a PAC without going through reporting requirements.

Aside from that, making these sorts of petitions public increases the chance that fraud will be caught. The number of signatures for referendum 71 were close enough that it's worth a little bit more inspection to see if fraud was going on. For example, signature gatherers were claiming that referendum 71 is about marriage, when it's actually about domestic partnerships.

Giving money and supporting political causes is a public action. One shouldn't be able to anonymously subject people's civil rights to a popular vote. (I'm not sure any sort of legislation should be done by people who aren't willing to come out and say they want to change the law, and why.)
posted by grae at 10:40 PM on September 1, 2009 [5 favorites]


This is all so much bullshit. The very notion that glbt folks should have "equal rights" is absurd. The real question is, why the hell should The Straights get rights equal to glbt folks, when it is so patently clear to anyone with their head on correctly, that glbt folks are, in every way, superior to The Straights?!

You see, that's the real agenda of the bigots. They work their stupid asses off slaming glbt folk in a vain attempt to prevent anyone, most especially glbt folk, from realizing that glbt folk are superior.
posted by Goofyy at 6:33 AM on September 2, 2009


As someone who has had his name published on a list of "homosexual activists" because I gave money to a state election, I'm kind of personally annoyed whenever those who want to prevent me from having the right to marry want to hide their identities.

There are two paths in life:

1) I didn't like when this happened to me, so I don't want it to happen to others.
2) I didn't like when this happened to me, so I want revenge against those who did it.
posted by smackfu at 6:54 AM on September 2, 2009


I didn't mind when this happened to me because I knew going into it that it was possible, even probably. I don't think other people should be able to avoid it, because I believe it leads to abuses of the system. When people are allowed to anonymously legislate, it leads to bad law.

Is calling for an investigation of the torture at Guantanamo a call for revenge against the previous administration, or is it a call for the return of the rule of law? I believe this is the same sort of question.
posted by grae at 7:25 AM on September 2, 2009


2) I didn't like when this happened to me, so I want revenge against those who did it.

Please define revenge in the context you are using it in this sentence.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:23 AM on September 2, 2009


Good fucking god. How in the name of all that is holy can we still be arguing, in the 21st Century, about whether people deserve basic human rights based on who they love? How patently absurd it is that we even have to have this conversation...again and again and again.

Any church...ANY CHURCH, right or left that gets involved in politics of any flavor should have it's tax-free status stripped immediately.

Anyone who is willing to deny basic human rights and dignity to another human should be publicly acknowledged. If you don't like gays...that's fine, but don't expect those of us that believe in human rights to support your businesses, your endeavors, your teams and organizations, or any of the things that you would strip from our sisters and brothers and friends.

If you support denying rights based on who someone loves, then I want to know who you are so I can avoid you and everyone around you that carries the taint of your evil prejudice.

That said; that's not how the law is designed, and circumventing the law isn't going to accomplish our goals. Changing the law...that should be on the table, but circumventing it just gives the other side fuel for the fire.
posted by dejah420 at 9:25 AM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Please define revenge in the context you are using it in this sentence.

I meant something like:

2) I didn't like when this happened to me, so I want those who did it to feel the same thing.

I don't know if "revenge" is the best word, but I'm not sure what else to call it. "Turnabout is fair play"?
posted by smackfu at 9:27 AM on September 2, 2009


I don't know if "revenge" is the best word

Probably not.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:43 AM on September 2, 2009


The judge in King County ruled that King County does not have jurisdiction over the dispute over the validity of signatures on Referendum 71. However, a lawsuit can be filed in Thurston County. The opinion is here.
posted by creepygirl at 9:49 AM on September 2, 2009


At least a judge has now noted publicly some of the problems with the petition:
"A King County Superior Court judge [Judge Julie Spector ] said Wednesday she had serious concerns that thousands of invalid signatures may have been accepted for Referendum 71...In her ruling, Spector said there were highlights on top of the petitions that contain 'apparent falsehoods,' such as the statement that if same-sex marriage becomes law public schools would be forced to teach that homosexuality is 'normal...even over the objections of parents.'

Spector said the required signature-gatherers declaration swears that people who signed the petition did so 'knowingly.'

'It is unclear whether a signature-gatherer can swear than an individual signer has signed the petition "knowingly" when the signature-gatherer has allegedly misrepresented the contents of the petition,' Spector wrote."
posted by ericb at 9:59 AM on September 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


Hutchison is saying she'll vote for R-71, which essentially means there's no one major on Seattle's ballot that will vote against R-71. So, while Hutchison will turn out liberals who will vote against her, they won't be voting against her because she doesn't support the "everything but marriage" law.

As for Eyman, he's been unwilling to support R-71 and didn't offer his network to get initiatives signed. Given he's a libertarian more than a conservative, that's not much of a surprise.
posted by dw at 6:19 PM on September 2, 2009


Elsewhere, the first television ad from 'No on 1/Protect Maine Equality': Sam Putnam.
posted by ericb at 8:14 AM on September 3, 2009


Another great TV ad from Maine. This time from EqualityMaine: Together.

The opposition (Stand for Marriage) has a casting call out for actors to play concerned citizens. Memories of NOM's much-parodied and ridiculed 'Gathering Storm' television ad which also used actors instead of 'real' citizens.
posted by ericb at 8:25 AM on September 3, 2009


Also from EqualityMaine: Marriage For ALL Maine Families.
posted by ericb at 8:27 AM on September 3, 2009


If only the fight here in WA was about marriage equality. But it's not.
posted by hippybear at 9:57 AM on September 3, 2009


Second television ad from 'No on 1/Protect Maine Equality': Bill Whitten.
posted by ericb at 10:16 AM on September 3, 2009


Still open thread about Maine marriage equality television commercials.
posted by hippybear at 10:22 AM on September 3, 2009


I totally forgot about that thred! ; )
posted by ericb at 10:33 AM on September 3, 2009


It's all good. I love seeing what other states are doing to stave off the encroaching darkness. I just would rather see the issues not get overly confused. :)
posted by hippybear at 10:35 AM on September 3, 2009


Poll finds support for same-sex domestic partnerships
"Potential good news for backers of the 'everything but marriage law' that voters will be asked to uphold or reject in November through Referendum 71.

The Washington Poll released a report [PDF] today showing public support for same-sex domestic partnerships has increased substantially over the past three years.

In 2006, about 59 percent of registered voters in Washington supported either same-sex marriage or domestic partnerships with the full rights of marriage, compared with 41 percent who favor fewer rights for such couples.

But by 2008, 66 percent of registered voters said they supported same-sex marriage (36.7 percent) or full domestic partnerships (29.3 percent). Just 32.6 percent were in support of lesser rights."
posted by ericb at 1:42 PM on September 3, 2009


New hearing to block vote on gay domestic partnership initiative set for today.
posted by ericb at 8:02 AM on September 8, 2009


WA Constitution requires that voter registration cards be submitted within 5 days of being signed.
posted by hippybear at 2:07 PM on September 8, 2009


Hrm. okay, I didn't word that correctly.

The law requires the signed cards be turned in within 5 days, which they weren't. The Constitution requires that those signing a petition be registered voters.

*grumble* Important legal point, made obscure by my bad post. My apologies.
posted by hippybear at 2:09 PM on September 8, 2009


In case anybody is still monitoring this thread, WA judge rejects challenge to vote on gay benefits.
posted by jsonic at 4:55 PM on September 8, 2009


This is the most recently filed case in Thurston County, btw.
posted by jsonic at 5:00 PM on September 8, 2009


Appeal likely, it seems.
posted by hippybear at 8:31 PM on September 8, 2009


Federal Judge Protects Names of Donors to WA Referendum 71
"A federal judge has continued to keep private the names and addresses of those who signed Referendum 71, saying they likely are protected under the First Amendment and that the state failed to prove a compelling public interest in their release. U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle in Tacoma granted a preliminary injunction today, blocking the state from making the petitions public...The Secretary of State's Office — the defendant in the case — has said it is obligated under the state Public Records Act to release the petitions to those who request them.

"But Protect Marriage argued that the law 'chills free speech ... particularly when it is reasonably probable that those exercising their First Amendment rights would be subjected to threats and harassment.' Stephen Pidgeon, attorney with Protect Marriage, said: 'We think this is a good decision. It protects Washington voters' right to speak freely even in impassioned debate.' But Brian Zylstra, spokesman for Secretary of State Sam Reed, said the judge's decision 'is a step away from open government...When people sign a referendum or initiative petition, they are trying to change state law,' he said. "We believe that changing state law should be open to public view.'"
posted by ericb at 7:49 AM on September 11, 2009


Appeal likely, it seems.

Backers won't appeal public vote on gay benefits.
posted by ericb at 7:50 AM on September 11, 2009


A federal judge has continued to keep private the names and addresses of those who signed Referendum 71, saying they likely are protected under the First Amendment and that the state failed to prove a compelling public interest in their release.

I don't see how this will hold. The state's Open Records Act has no "First Amendment" exemption, and to not release them implies the act needs some sort of exemption for it. And if that loophole was in place, you could pretty much drive all the info the state generates right though it.

There's no right to privacy implied in the petitions. Perhaps you could hang this on a similar ruling a few years ago that prevented police officer home addresses from being released, but that would still require a bit of a leap -- that data isn't state data.
posted by dw at 8:26 AM on September 11, 2009


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