The Washington Public Disclosure Commission has rejected a group's request to keep secret the names of donors to Referendum 71, the measure that seeks to repeal the latest expansion of a gay-inclusive domestic partnership law in Washington State, The News Tribune reported.

In a letter to Protect Marriage Washington, officials said the donor names are public record.

“These reports and this disclosure to the public are required by statute,” Doug Ellis, assistant director of the PDC, said in the letter.

Last week, Protect Marriage Washington asked the commission to conceal donor names because the group has received threats.

The group pointed to a threat posted on the blog Queer Equality Revolution, where its owner, John Bisceglia of Bellingham, said: “I would not blame any LGBTQ American who feels the need to express their JUSTIFIED RAGE against the property of ALL of those who are working tirelessly to HURT his or her family, starting with churches and government property.”

(In 2008, On Top Magazine contacted Bisceglia in connection to a tax protest he had mounted. He told us he acquired PTSD after suffering through a violent relationship that left him homeless. The PTSD left him unable to hold a steady job, he said. Bisceglia argued that the government's refusal to legalize his marriage left him without “legal protection,” and he pledged he would not pay taxes until gay marriage was legalized.)

Protect Marriage Washington is the group behind the effort to repeal the domestic partnership law dubbed the “everything but marriage” law by the media and approved by lawmakers in the spring. Referendum 71 supporters submitted more than 137,000 signatures on July 25 to force a vote on the issue. The office of the Secretary of State is painstakingly counting every single signature – instead of a sample – because the petition's signature count cuts it close to the required 120,577. Counting is expected to continue through next week.

Donor names began appearing on the PDC's website in June. The highest contributions reported so far are $4,795 ($1,900 from a 0% loan, plus a $2,895 donation) from a retired man from Olympia, $1,000 from the president of a Spokane business, $1,000 from an Arlington church, $2,000 from an Olympia church, $1,250 from the Washington Values Alliance (a coalition member), and $1,000 from a housewife from Spokane.

In the group's latest August 10 filing, donors were identified only by their initials; address and occupation information was also not included. Most of the unidentified are small donors who donated less than $100.

The PDC said it has asked the group for a full reporting as the law requires. “We've asked them to report the actual names,” PDC spokeswoman Lori Anderson told the paper.

Protect Marriage Washington so far has reported $24,379 in cash, with $3,330.44 in in-kind donations, while Washington Families Standing Together, the group supporting the gay partner law, reported $46,427 in cash, with $29,636.95 in in-kind donations.

Josh Friedes, a spokesman for Washington Families Standing Together, commented on the threat of violence that prompted Protect Marriage Washington to act.

“I don't want to diminish the pain and anguish that a non-gay person might feel if they are the subject of a nasty e-mail or Web posting, but every day, we get nasty, harassing e-mails in the office and posted online,” he told the paper. “We all have to be focused on creating a society which respects each other and allows for civil discussion of controversial issues.”