The 9th U.S. District Court of Appeals has reversed a lower court’s ruling, saying that the names of those who signed the petition to put the anti-gay Referendum 71 on the ballot can be made public.
A panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a previous decision by U.S. District Judge Ben Settle in Tacoma to block release of the petitions. Settle held that releasing the names could chill the First Amendment rights of petition signers. Stephen Pidgeon, an attorney for the petition sponsors, did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Despite the appeals-court ruling, the names weren’t immediately released. Janelle Guthrie, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Rob McKenna, said her office must now ask a Thurston County judge to lift a temporary restraining order issued Wednesday forbidding the release of the petitions until the 9th Circuit could rule. “These petitions are not like a secret ballot, but amount to taking part in our legislative process, which is required to be open and accountable,” Secretary of State Sam Reed said.
Get ready for the wingnuts to start screaming about activist judges. Bwah ha ha.