The United States Supreme Court ruled today in favor of Secretary of State Sam Reed in refusing to bar the disclosure of names of voters that signed the Referendum 71 petitions last year. R-71 asked voters whether to uphold the Legislature's the expansion of the state's domestic partnership law to include all the state rights of marriage without recognizing marriages.
But the ruling leaves the door wide open for religious conservatives sponsoring R-71 to continue their fight in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, where their case originated. The lower could will have to sort out whether specific threats of disclosure of names in this case is enough to bar the release of petition signers’ names in this specific referendum campaign.
R-71 sponsors claimed they were subjected to threats and harassment, and the high court ruling only found there was not a basis to close off all initiative and referenda signatures from public review or disclosure. The court found the Public Records Act did not as a rule infringe on free speech, although it acknowledged potential for that.
Here is a link to the Supreme Court ruling on the Doe v. Reed suit (and a quick thanks to Jason Mercier of Washington Policy Center for noticing the case is decided).
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Here’s one summarizing paragraph from Chief Justice John Roberts’ majority ruling: