Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Should Signers of Anti-gay Rights Petition Be Exposed?

"The right to privacy that individuals hold, that's one thing that we fight for"

Brian Montopoli writes:
Voters in Washington state will decide today on a referendum that could effectively roll back legislation passed in May to extend domestic partnership rights and responsibilities to gay and lesbian couples similar to those granted married heterosexual couples.
In addition to the fierce battle over the referendum itself, there has been another bitter fight: One over whether the names of the more than 120,000 people who signed a petition to get the referendum on the ballot should be made public. 
On one side of the debate is Larry Stickney, the campaign manager of Protect Marriage Washington and one of the main people who got the referendum, known as Referendum 71, on the ballot. Stickney opposes releasing the names, arguing that doing so opens signatories up to intimidation and harassment. 
On the other side is Tom Lang, director of KnowThyNeighbor.org, a Web site that has published the names of signatories on similar measures in states around the country. Lang rejected the claims of intimidation – "it doesn't happen," he said – and says he is interested in starting a conversation between neighbors, coworkers and family members. "This is about meaningful dialogue between those that are going to have their rights stripped from them and the people that are doing it," he said. READ MORE