According to early reports from today’s Supreme Court hearing of the Referendum 71 case, justices on both sides of the ideological aisle are rather skeptical of Protect Marriage’s claim that violent homosexuals will rain down retribution on the signers of the anti-gay petition. Even Scalia seems to be on the correct side.
Supreme Court justices from the left and the right were skeptical Wednesday as a lawyer for religious conservatives argued that Washington State has no right to release the names of the 138,000 residents who signed ballot petitions to overturn a same-sex domestic partnership law. Associate Justice John Paul Stevens dismissed the arguments as “touchy feely” and Justice Antonin Scalia said “Democracy requires a certain amount of civic courage.” James Bopp Jr., a lawyer for Protect Marriage Washington, argued that those who signed the petition for Referendum 71 faced harassment and intimidation from gay rights groups if their names were released and maintained the right to privacy trumped the public’s right to know. Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna, who argued for the state, also faced tough questioning as he maintained the voter approved Public Disclosure Act required the release of the names and there has been no evidence of harassment or intimidation.
The Court’s decision could affect the transparency of the referendum process in every state.