Thursday, April 29, 2010

Supremes to Decide if Anti-Gay Petition Signers Deserve Secrecy

In a closely-watched case involving last year's Washington State ballot initiative to overturn domestic partnerships, the Supreme Court is considering whether or not the names of those who signed the petition to put the measure on the ballot should be kept secret. This is considered by many to be a test case for future LGBT rights cases that are likely to find their way to this court, including the federal challenge to California's Proposition 8.

If Wednesday's opening session in the case of Doe vs. Reed is any indicator, it doesn't look good for the anti-gays. Conservatives fighting to keep the over 138,000 names secret contend that revealing those names would open up those people to the risk of harassment. One of the court's most conservative jurists, Antonin Scalia said, "running a democracy takes a certain amount of civic courage."
On Top reports:
In an amicus brief filed with the court, four gay rights groups – GLAD, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force – argued that opponents were feigning victimization.

“Petitioners seek, through their feint of victimization, to take away one of the few defenses that lesbian and gay individuals have to defend against hostile initiatives: the use of public records to stop the fraudulent qualification of such measures in the first place, and to lobby, through personal advocacy, the people who legislate using such measures,” the groups wrote.

“The Court should decline the invitation to scrap these protections based on a poorly-supported and largely fictitious tale that those who seek to deprive lesbian and gay Americans of rights are the ones being victimized.”
 Read the full story here.

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