The Supreme Court announced Friday it will consider whether Washington state officials can release the names of signers of a ballot measure that sought to repeal a gay rights law, the AP reported

It is the second time in a week that the court has become involved in the issue of privacy as it relates to opponents of gay rights.

Protect Marriage Washington appealed to the Supreme Court after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the release of nearly 138,000 signatures that put Referendum 71 on last fall's ballot.

Referendum 71 put a domestic partnership law that gives gay couples all the rights of marriage to a vote. The law was approved by legislators and signed by the governor.

Voters, however, agreed with lawmakers and approved Referendum 71.

Opponents say releasing the names would put signers at risk of harassment, reprisals and boycotts of their businesses, amounting to an unconstitutional infringement of free speech rights.

Protect Marriage Washington, the sponsor of Referendum 71, is being represented by the Christian-based legal group Alliance Defense Fund (ADF). The ADF earlier set up a Referendum 71 webpage to collect data from people who “have been threatened or suffered retaliation after signing an R-71 petition” or were prevented from signing a petition.

In their filing before the court, opponents argued that gay groups want the information to “encourage harassment and intimidation.”

“No citizen should ever worry that they will be threatened or injured because they have exercised their right to engage in the political process,” James Bopp, Jr., a lawyer for Protect Marriage Washington, told the news agency.

The gay rights group says it wants to publish the names on the Internet to foster a dialogue on gay rights. “We can't let discrimination be perpetuated and sit back and say, 'That's OK,'” Brian Murphy of told the Seattle Times last fall.

Under Washington state law, names of people who sign petitions become public record after the Secretary of State verifies a petition. State officials argue that the names should be released because signers are acting in place of lawmakers, who do not approve laws in secret.

On Wednesday, justices moved to block a plan to broadcast the first federal case to challenge the constitutionality of a gay marriage ban taking place in San Francisco. In that case, gay rights opponents have also said that they fear reprisals if their views are made public.