Friday, November 18, 2011

9th Circuit Dishes Protect Marriage Washington

The Christofascist who backed the Referendum 71 effort in Washington State - an initiative that would have repealed recognition of same sex relationships in the State of Washington - continue to whine and engage in desperate attempts to keep the names of the bigots who signed the petitions to put Referendum 71 on the ballot secret. Frankly, I have ZERO respect for those who want to take away civil legal rights of others yet lack the balls and courage to stand up and acknowledge their hatred of others and religious based bigotry. Thankfully, the Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit basically kicked the whiners to the curb and refused to allow the petitions to be kept secret. Pam's House Blend has details on the latest bitch slap delivered to the Referendum 71 proponents (their spokesman, Larry Stickney, is pictured at left). Here are some highlights:

Moot is the word that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals used to describe Protect Marriage Washington‘s too-late effort to prevent the Washington Secretary of State from releasing more copies of the Referendum 71 petitions to the public.

In October, Federal District Court Judge Benjamin Settle, a George W. Bush appointee, ruled in their case Doe v. Reed that PMW was not entitled to an exemption from the Public Records Act and that therefore the Referendum 71 petitions they submitted to the state must be made available to the public by the Secretary of State. He also revealed the identities of the Doe plaintiffs and witnesses Linkwhich until then had been secret.

PMW found itself in a pickle because they had failed to pre-file a request for a stay before Judge Settle ruled. As a group concerned with keeping the names of R-71 signatories and Doe plaintiffs secret, pre-filing a motion for a stay would have been a logical precaution for PMW to take in the event Judge Settle ruled against them.

But they didn’t. Instead they filed emergency motions for injunction after the fact. Between the time of Judge Settle’s ruling and PMW’s after-the-fact emergency motions, numerous copies of the R-71 petitions and Judge Settle’s ruling itself had entered the public domain. In addition, some Doe witnesses have outed themselves.

PMW is affiliated with the anti-gay hate group National Organization for Marriage. Doe v. Reed is just one in a string of NOM-linked cases seeking — unsuccessfully — to use ballot measures and legislative campaigns about domestic partnerships or marriage equality as vehicles for attacking campaign finance disclosure laws or other open government laws. Recent articles describing related NOM-linked cases can be found here and here.

In November, 2009 over 53% of the electorate voted to approve Referendum 71, making Washington the first state in the nation to vote affirmatively in support of comprehensive relationship recognition for LGBT families. PMW was the organization trying to use the R-71 vote to overturn the law.

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