A gay rights group has announced it
will publish the names of foes of a Washington law that recognizes
gay and lesbian couples with nearly all the legal protections of
On Monday, social conservatives lost
their legal case to keep private the names of signers of a petition
that attempted to repeal the law.
Conservatives wanted to block the
public release of the nearly 138,000 signatures that put Referendum
71 on the state's ballot in 2009. The ballot initiative asked voters
to accept – or reject – an expansion of an existing domestic
partnership law approved by lawmakers. Voters opted 53-to-46 to keep
the law dubbed “everything but marriage” by the media.
Protect Marriage Washington, the
Christian conservative group behind the lawsuit, argued that the
signers would be harmed – either verbally or physically – if
their names were disclosed. But U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle
of Tacoma disagreed, saying the group failed to show any “serious
and widespread threats, harassment, or reprisals against the signers
Know Thy Neighbor has all along said it
wanted to post the names in an Internet-based searchable database in
an effort to stimulate critical conversations.
Tom Lang told NPR: “About people who've been in people's
weddings parties and they've signed, people in families where the
grandmother signed knowing darned well that her grandson was gay.
These are the types of conversations that are being had.”