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
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
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