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Legal War For WA State Sunshine Law

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the public-acts-public-records dept.

The Courts 1364

joeszilagyi writes "In a major battle in Washington State, anti-gay rights groups created and got R-71 on the 2009 election ballot. This is a public initiative to put same-sex civil unions up for public vote. The real legal war then erupted: activists created WhoSigned.org to take advantage of WA state's Public Records Act, and put the names of all people who publicly endorsed R-71 on a public, SEO-optimized website. Lawsuits quickly followed, and today it reached the United States Supreme Court, in a matter of months. The records appear to have always been public, but have only been available in digital form since 2006. An assault on civil rights, an assault on marriage, or an assault on sunshine laws and freedom of information?"

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1364 comments

So? (2, Insightful)

sanosuke001 (640243) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806171)

Did anyone really expect their participation to be secret? It's a public vote; they should be tracked for verification. Anyone who signed should have understood that as well-informed adults. Anyone who didn't has no excuse for being upset over this. If they didn't want people to know they support gay rights they shouldn't have signed it.

Re:So? (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806187)

It is going to get interesting when people whose names are on the list claim not to have signed it.

Re:So? (0, Troll)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806335)

Please sign the petition here...

And please also fill up this form with your name in capital letters, your social security number, your date of birth and your bank account number for our records so we can demonstrate the number of people having signed our petition is real.

Thanks for supporting our cause.

Re:So? (-1, Flamebait)

sam0vi (985269) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806415)

Now they can't go around pretending to be all cool and tolerant. I'd love to see their hipocrit faces when they are judged by the rest of their hipocrit friends who were smart enough not to sign the petition...
Eat shit motherfuckers!!

Re:So? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29806633)

You can't spell.

No one should have expected (5, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806209)

that their signature remained secret, however no one should have to put up with an organized intimidation process which is the new method of choice. Seeing the pubic exercise their opinion has so offended certain elements out there. As such these same elements intend to use intimidation while expertly avoiding stepping over the line or just not getting caught to get any big names on their to back down or pay up.

In other words, the names should be protected based on what we know these elements will do with them. We cannot have the democratic process circumvented by threats and intimidation. I am all for treating these signatures like votes, off the public record. keep them private. If only to stop the new tactics.

This is similar to why Unions want Card Check, to intimidate their way into power. Freedom of expression is freedom from fear

Re:No one should have expected (5, Insightful)

Roachgod (589171) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806257)

While I wish there wasn't this intimidation process... I don't think a person's rights and privileges are up for "vote". I don't want other people deciding how I can and cannot live my life - CERTAINLY when it doesn't involve them. Voting on who OTHER PEOPLE can and can't marry bothers me on a deep level, far away from whether it is 'gay' rights or 'racial' rights or... I don't know.... 'alien' rights. I am all for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Voting on other people's marriages seems an offense against all three. Against such a threat... I think anything is justified. Kudos to the intimidators for not just shooting them all.

Re:No one should have expected (4, Interesting)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806339)

I think you have a ways to go though before intimidation or especially violenc gets called up for use. I don't think we've quite reached that level.

Personally I think I have great way to solve this problem; eliminate completely the concept of legal marriage. Its not needed, and the issue is causing us to waste time better spent on other work. Make it a purely religous or spiritial cermemony, that means nothing legally.

Re:No one should have expected (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29806451)

Still trying to weasel out of your child support payments, eh?

Re:No one should have expected (4, Interesting)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806499)

Personally I think I have great way to solve this problem; eliminate completely the concept of legal marriage. Its not needed, and the issue is causing us to waste time better spent on other work. Make it a purely religous or spiritial cermemony, that means nothing legally.

That would be the ideal, but that would defeat the reason gays want marriage in the first place. If all they were looking for was a symbolic ceremony of their life together, they'd just go down to their local Unitarian Universalist building and get married. They want marriage specifically for the legal protections: so they can force employers to provide health insurance, get estate rights when their partners die, tax breaks, etc. Of course, there's no reason why much of this couldn't be done on a contractual basis in the absence of legal marriage, but the state always finds a way to mess things up and make things difficult for people.

I'm sure that I will be modded down because it will perceived it as an anti-homosexual comment, but it's not. I believe in the equality before the law for all people, I simply don't think we should have the laws that make this a battle in the first place.

Re:No one should have expected (1)

ZekoMal (1404259) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806589)

I disagree. I think that when the right was finally added in and people are actively moving to take it away, you don't away a few generations to get it fixed. These aren't people being told they can't get married, they're being told they can't even have a civil union! What should they do? Wait until they're dead? Some of the couples getting gay married are well up in their 70's, they can't wait for the opposition to politely die off.

Re:No one should have expected (-1, Troll)

JerryLove (1158461) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806341)

I don't think a person's rights and privileges are up for "vote".

Then how would one decide rights and privileges? Whatever the individual choose for themselves?

Voting on who OTHER PEOPLE can and can't marry bothers me on a deep level

It would be idiotic to vote on who you yourself could marry. So while you could say "placing restrictions on marriage bothers me", it is non-sensical to say what you have.

And further I cannot agree with it. Certainly, restricting adults from marrying 9-year-olds is something I agree with.

On the other hand: no one has told you who you can or cannot marry. The discussion is over the legal recognition of said marriage.

Against such a threat... I think anything is justified. Kudos to the intimidators for not just shooting them all.

So if I don't want to give a man the right to take a standard tax deduction as a married couple because he decided to marry a sheep, I should be shot?

Re:No one should have expected (5, Informative)

JerryLove (1158461) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806355)

The discussion is over the legal recognition of said marriage.

Actually, this discussion is over a website listing in a searchable way those who signed a petition to put gay-civil-unions on a ballot.

Re:No one should have expected (1)

LMacG (118321) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806569)

> The discussion is over the legal recognition of said marriage

As somebody else stated, the real discussion is about disclosure of names. But if you want to talk about the referendum itself, it has nothing to do with "marriage", it's about domestic partnerships. Some people are never going to be satisfied - they say "oh you can't be married, that's against our holy sacrament" so Washington state says "OK, let's leave marriage (and religion) out of this and create a CIVIL recognition of partnerships" and these people still can't leave it be.

Evidently these people's grasp on heterosexuality is quite frail, and even the slightest suggestion or perhaps a Kylie Minogue song is going to make them switch to the other team.

Re:No one should have expected (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806597)

Well, it didn't take long for the children and animals straw man to come along! (Is it legal to marry a man made of straw?)

Children and animals can't enter legal contracts. Adults can. If you want to claim that some adults can't enter into legal contracts with other adults, then it's up to you to make the case, without nonsensical comparisons to children or animals.

Right now, your argument is that gay people should be treated like children and animals in terms of their ability to enter a contract - and that says all we need to know about your argument.

The discussion is over the legal recognition of said marriage.

Um yes, that's the debate we're having too. And that's what these referendums are about too.

Re:No one should have expected (1)

MrMr (219533) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806611)

restricting adults from marrying 9-year-olds
Is there a Godwin's law equivalent for that?

Re:No one should have expected (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806367)

"I don't think a person's rights and privileges are up for "vote""

Who is defining what are the rights and the privileges? Who is interpreting? That's a rhetorical question that every Westerner should be asking himself. If you go to the source of modern Western morals... Well, good luck finding it.

Re:No one should have expected (3, Insightful)

Xeth (614132) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806525)

Marriage is, by definition, not a private institution, but a public one. Being married doesn't affect what you do inside your own home (to be taken as an idiom for things that don't affect others), it affects how society interacts with you. I therefore think it is disingenuous to claim that it is not a social issue, outside the purview of societal interest.

That's not to say that it should be regulated, in this case or any other, but I merely wish to indicate that the question is not itself injurious, as you seem to say.

Huge differences (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29806619)

But when two people marry, I don't have to marry the same person they do, do I.

Because two women get married doesn't mean my wife has to get married to a woman.

Because two men get married doesn't mean I have to marry a man.

If the problem is that there is extra benefit to marriage that will be garnered by same-sex-marriages then there is extra benefit to same-sex marriages which the single are missing out of.

In which case, it would be "ban marriage".

Not "ban same-sex marriage".

Re:No one should have expected (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806539)

I don't think a person's rights and privileges are up for "vote".

I agree - and as someone in the UK, I find it astonishing that these things are put to referendum.

If nothing else, surely there are far more important things to put to the vote - you know, things that actually affect most the population?

Here in the UK, hardly anything ever goes to a referendum. So my question is, is just about everything put to the referendum in the US? Or if not, how is it decided which questions are asked - and why is it they seem to be used for mostly straight people to decide whether gay people should have their rights taken away, and not for many other issues?

Maybe I and the rest of the planet should be allowed a vote on whether US citizens should have rights - that's democracy, right?

Or perhaps someone should propose a referendum on whether people on this list should be allowed rights?

Re:No one should have expected (1)

muckracer (1204794) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806261)

> Seeing the pubic exercise their opinion has so offended certain elements out
> there.

That indeed seems to be the crux of the matter: some people being offended by
the pubic exercises of others. Quite silly if you think of it (IMHO) :-)

Re:No one should have expected (1, Insightful)

bistromath007 (1253428) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806303)

"These elements?" Fuck your shit. Those elements are people who are trying to win their own freedom of expression from a giant lobby who want to keep it from them for no reason other than that they can. The first amendment protects your speech from the government. Your speech should not be protected from the consequences of other citizens hearing it. The businessman expresses himself, and his customers express themselves by taking their money elsewhere.

Re:No one should have expected (4, Insightful)

sanosuke001 (640243) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806309)

Why should we make an exception for this? We already have laws to stop assault, abuse, and slander. Why do we need to make this exception to try and stop those things from happening? If someone has a problem because of this, file a complaint with the police.

Hiding public records is how people stack votes; doing that now just because people MIGHT be annoyed with an email or a phone call goes against everything this nation is supposed to stand for. Like I said, if someone has a problem because of this, go to the police. If not, deal with it. They signed a public document, they have no right to ask for it to be protected from scrutiny.

Re:No one should have expected (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29806373)

It's about one side trying to fuck the other over by using "their rights", and the other side trying to fuck them back by using "their rights". Nothing to see here, really.

Re:No one should have expected (4, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806409)

that their signature remained secret, however no one should have to put up with an organized intimidation process which is the new method of choice. Seeing the pubic exercise their opinion has so offended certain elements out there. As such these same elements intend to use intimidation while expertly avoiding stepping over the line or just not getting caught to get any big names on their to back down or pay up.

In other words, the names should be protected based on what we know these elements will do with them. We cannot have the democratic process circumvented by threats and intimidation. I am all for treating these signatures like votes, off the public record. keep them private. If only to stop the new tactics.

This is similar to why Unions want Card Check, to intimidate their way into power. Freedom of expression is freedom from fear

If it really were a measure of public opinion they would not be so fast to cry foul and scream "intimidation".

For one, there are laws against anything substantive (vandalism, assault, etc), and for another, if the majority of the public really DOES agree with them there should be no risk of ostracism.

Of course, they obviously know this is NOT the case, and their efforts to conceal their signatures are no different than the white hoods the KKK used to wear.

The reality is this referendum doesn't do anything except exploit the "squeaky wheel" phenomenon to oppress gay people. The (silent) majority of the public could care less, so they won't consider it important enough to show up at the polls, allowing the "vocal (and bigoted) minority" to disenfranchise them.

Re:No one should have expected (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806595)

so they won't consider it important enough to show up at the polls, allowing the "vocal (and bigoted) minority" to disenfranchise them.

Umm, if someone chooses not to vote, they have disenfranchised THEMSELVES.

Re:No one should have expected (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806635)

so they won't consider it important enough to show up at the polls, allowing the "vocal (and bigoted) minority" to disenfranchise them.

Umm, if someone chooses not to vote, they have disenfranchised THEMSELVES.

sorry for the lack of clarity.. by them I refer to the target of the referendum (in this case, gay people).

Re:No one should have expected (1)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806429)

So you're of the opinion that anything anti-gay or anti-minority should be automatic. Just FAKE a petition, don't even need real names because as long as it's against somebody you HATE then the petition should be classified top secret.

Re:No one should have expected (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806501)

Where on the linked site does it advocate organized intimidation? You seem to be implying that publishing someone's name is the equivalent of publishing their name, a picture of them that looks like it's through a gun sight, their home address, their work address, their work hours, and other places where they can be found, and a call to stop them at any cost.

Going up to someone and asking them to explain their views is not intimidation. Neither is going up to someone and trying to convince them via argument that your view is correct. Unless a threat of force, loss of job, etc is involved, that's called grassroots politics.

Re:No one should have expected (1)

dmhummel (1549587) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806523)

When one votes in a way which significantly limits or changes the way a large population is allowed to live, it must be expected for there to be some form of public response.

If a proposition was passed allowing coal companies to dump toxic waste in my drinking water, and my child lost all his/her teeth due to heavy metal poisoning, should I not know who voted for or against it?
  http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/13/us/13water.html [nytimes.com]

If a proposition was passed that annulled my marriage to my wife because she is 5 years younger than me as that is *insert conservative reason for this to be sick and wrong*, I would want to reach out to any one who voted for the proposition and make my disappointment known.

Your republican views have been tailored for you as a good fit for your hatred of homosexuality. However, all you are defending is the right of our elected leaders to act in ways that do not represent their electorate. That is the true republican ideal.

  Imagine the laws restricts your freedom and you may not see it the same way.

Re:No one should have expected (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29806607)

Shaming someone for their opinion != intimidating them. Shame has always been an integral control mechanism in society, see the methods used by the churches backing putting gay marriage up for a vote, eg. "Brothers and sisters, here at teh altar this morning is a petition against gay marriage. If you care about God and marriage you'll come up here to sign it after the service." The whole point of signing a petition is and always has been to let the rest of the world know you agree with the view expressed in it. We're not talking the Slashdot survey here, this is a legal document that requires signature verification. Addititionally, if fear of shame (intimidation is an adsurdly strong word) is enough to prevent you from expressing a political opinion, maybe you should reassess your position, or grow a spine.

Re:No one should have expected (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29806613)

I am all for treating these signatures like votes, off the public record. keep them private.

I guess I am not, if I can't verify that the vote actually passed I would at least like to be able to verify that the petition was indeed signed by the required number of citizens. Too much 'black box' and pretty soon we aren't a democracy anymore.

Re:No one should have expected (5, Insightful)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806639)

In a democracy there are two ways to participate in politics. One is to exercise your right to vote in secret. The other is to publicly organize. A petition is not a vote, it's a public statement that "I support initiative X." As a public statement the speaker assumes the risks associated with speaking out in public - such as the possibility that your friends and neighbors will find out your opinions. Intimidation and harassment are illegal and these laws should be enforced, but petitions are public for a reason and should stay public regardless of whether or not some bad actors will do bad things. Participating publicly in politics is risky, which is why you're under no obligation to do so. If signature gathering efforts for ballot initiatives or to get a candidate on a ballot become private they risk becoming about as important as internet petitions and polls. When you sign a petition, you're literally putting your name on the line - which is what gives them the impact that they have - if it's anonymous and cannot be publicly verified no one will believe you when you say we have Y signatures. What's more these are most certainly not new tactics - the declaration of independence was essentially a petition, and the signatories certainly faced consequences for attaching their names to the document. Do you suppose that the declaration would be held in such high esteem had it been signed by BenLightning and SamTEHdrunk?

Re:So? (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806307)

I don't think the names should be released, although I do support gay marrage. The reason is the same as the reasoning behind secret ballots when voting for candidate; you're denying people the right to persue referenedums because what whatever notion is popular of the day (or, the person in power has police to "monitor" those that oppose them).

It really doesn't matter who signed it; there were enough signatures to put the measure up and that's all that matters. The gay rights group are hoping to use intimidation and shame to get their way, and that does not sit well with me.

Re:So? (2, Insightful)

sanosuke001 (640243) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806337)

However, for a public office vote, they have ways to verify people's identity (for the most part). With a petition, they have nothing. Their names have to be public record in case some group or organization wants to verify people actually signed it instead of someone making up a list of names. Unintended consequences, maybe; it doesn't negate the need for public access.

Re:So? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29806353)

I don't think the names should be released, although I do support gay marrage. The reason is the same as the reasoning behind secret ballots when voting for candidate; you're denying people the right to persue referenedums because what whatever notion is popular of the day

This wasn't a ballot, this was a petition to put a question up for vote.

If you sign a petition, your power comes from your public declaration of supporting that cause. If you want to be anonymous, do it at the voting booth. A petition with 10,000 anonymous signatures is toilet paper.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29806357)

But this wasn't a secret ballot. That's what makes it different.

Re:So? (4, Insightful)

Ritchie70 (860516) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806419)

If people are shamed by having signed the petition then they shouldn't have signed it. The people who are shamed aren't listening to their little voice.

If they are not ashamed to have signed it then what's the problem?

I don't know about you, the only petition I've signed as an adult was for a local politician to get on the ballot. Go ahead, put my name on the front page of the newspaper - all I did was agree that this nice guy on my front porch should get his name on the ballot if he wants. I guess it implies I support him, but really, I don't even know what he thinks, just that he seems OK enough to be on the ballot.

All these people did, when you get down to it, was agree that the question of gay marriage should be on the ballot. Same thing.

There's the implication that you're in favor of the measure passing, of course - but you shouldn't put your name on a piece of paper if you don't understand what could happen with that list of names.

I have no sympathy for any of the signers.

Re:So? (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806641)

My view is that votes should be private, but my concern is more about other possible cases.

In this case, we have people voting to take away other adults' rights, on a matter that doesn't affect them. If they're now crying that other people are trying to take away some rights from them, I have little sympathy.

But the problem of public votes can affect everyone. Indeed, you could have an anti-gay group making public the votes in favour of gay marriage - not to mention more controversial laws (there are many issues where any rational argument is drowned out by hysteria - e.g., "anti-terrorism" laws).

Re:So? (1)

Ritchie70 (860516) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806461)

Sorry, double reply.This just occurred to me.

Do you really think there was no shame and intimidation involved in getting the signatures? Variations on this probably played out all over the state to get some of those signatures:

"Hey Bob, isn't it awful how the gays are going to have marriage rights? Turns my stomach."

"Um, yeah Joe, sure, that's a shame."

"Well Bob if you agree then why don't you sign this petition? We'll stop them before they ruin our state."

Bob thinks to himself, "well, it'll probably get enough anyway, and I don't need Joe mad at me, I'll just signs the damn thing" and signs.

Bob needs to grow a spine if he doesn't really agree, but maybe Joe is his pastor, or his boss, or the neighbor who always loans him tools. Don't want to piss off the guy who lets him use the saw.

Re:So? (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806497)

Indeed - in general I'm not a fan of exposing people like this (a similar issue in the UK is the leaking of the BNP member lists), and in general I'd argue for laws protecting privacy. But if they used perfectly legal means to publish the list, well good luck to them.

Re:So? (1)

atchijov (527688) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806603)

You should read more carefully. It is people who OPPOSE gay rights who have issues with they votes to become public.

Sick of the anti-gay groups (1, Insightful)

ZekoMal (1404259) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806177)

I saw an article on Yahoo! the other day about an interracial couple being denied their wedding license for being interracial. In the article, it stated that the constitution says that we can marry "whoever we want".

Shame that's not true. Oh well...as they say, it's the old people that are opposing gay marriage the most. We just have to wait a few years, then we can re-send gay marriage laws all over the country and finally get this biblical fear knocked out. I mean really, what year is it?

Re:Sick of the anti-gay groups (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29806201)

The Justice of the Peace didn't say they couldn't get married. He said he wasn't going to be the one who did it, then gave them the name of another JotP that would.

Re:Sick of the anti-gay groups (1)

OrangeMonkey11 (1553753) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806281)

Also the judge had stated that he was denying the couple because he does not believe in interracial relationship and he was looking out for the children

I guess old school racism isn't so bad when you're doing it for the children

Re:Sick of the anti-gay groups (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29806537)

The last time I recall the the JotP does not have to marry anyone. Its a private service. Is it repugnant? Yes.

If it goes against his religion. Who cares. He did nothing to deny their marriage he got them an JotP.

Re:Sick of the anti-gay groups (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806371)

Which is totally unnessary. There was no legal reason for him to make extra work for them, and his "think of the children" bullshit is just that.

Re:Sick of the anti-gay groups (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29806439)

Yet another example of Activist Judges making up their own rules based on their own opinions and not the Law's as written. This is the slippery slope we have created for ourselves... once one Judge does it, all the rest can do it based on Precedent.

Re:Sick of the anti-gay groups (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806219)

Measuring from the years marked in the Bible, it is the year 2009.

Re:Sick of the anti-gay groups (4, Insightful)

sanosuke001 (640243) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806237)

Honestly, I don't have a problem with churches not allowing same-sex marriages. However, the state should have no such rule. It's ridiculous. There is no direct or indirect effect on the state by allowing same-sex couples to marry. I don't see how they could ever win in a court of law.

It just shows you how biased judges are. If they were unbiased, the same sex marriage ban wouldn't last 5 minutes.

Re:Sick of the anti-gay groups (4, Insightful)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806457)

However, the state should have no such rule.

Cannot have such a rule. The anti-gay(-marriage) people will be quick to tell you the Constitution does not forbid discrimination based on sexual preference. Indeed, you won't find the words "sexual preference" or "sexuality" anywhere in the document. But pretending that you can in any way separate sexual preference from gender, against which discrimination is expressly forbidden by the Fourteenth Amendment, is nothing more than parlor-trick hand-waiving by a homophobic community intent on forcing Biblical morality on an entire nation.

If two people each have the right to marry, they have the right to marry each other. No, that does not somehow open the door to marriages with goats like some people (including, sadly, some in this very discussion) would like you to believe. Does this somehow create a strain on government programs that pay you for being married? Good. Get rid of them. It's ridiculous to incentivize marriage, for straight or gay people.

I'm sorry if this doesn't fit with some peoples' narrow-minded world view, but I'm tired of gay bashing being the last acceptable form of discrimination in the US. End rant.

(And sorry to the grandparent; most of this rant was not intended for you, merely used as a jumping-off point.)

Re:Sick of the anti-gay groups (0)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806599)

If two people each have the right to marry, they have the right to marry each other. No, that does not somehow open the door to marriages with goats like some people (including, sadly, some in this very discussion) would like you to believe. Does this somehow create a strain on government programs that pay you for being married? Good. Get rid of them. It's ridiculous to incentivize marriage, for straight or gay people.

I'm sorry if this doesn't fit with some peoples' narrow-minded world view, but I'm tired of gay bashing being the last acceptable form of discrimination in the US. End rant.

So, why is marriage limited to two people? Why are people who want to marry more than one person discriminated against? What about siblings who want to marry?
BTW for those of you who say that it is discrimination, gays are allowed to marry. They just aren't (in most states) allowed to marry someone of the same sex, but then neither are straights.

Re:Sick of the anti-gay groups (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29806241)

I mean really, what year is it?

2009. ...

Oh....

Was that question rhetorical? Sorry.

Re:Sick of the anti-gay groups (1)

PiAndWhippedCream (1566727) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806251)

Of course the constitution doesn't say that we can marry whoever we want. That would be grammatically in correct, the constitution says we can marry *whomever* we want.

Re:Sick of the anti-gay groups (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29806269)

It's a shame that you can't marry anyone you want. Like for instance, children and barnyard animals.

Re:Sick of the anti-gay groups (1)

ZekoMal (1404259) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806285)

Because marrying the same gender is the same as marrying a goat...

Re:Sick of the anti-gay groups (1)

LordAndrewSama (1216602) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806425)

same-sex or interspecies, I don't honestly care what my neighbours marry. animal rights activists might, though, unless the goat is all for it.

Re:Sick of the anti-gay groups (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29806629)

The result is essentially the same: No children. The reason we give married couples benefits is because they make children. Gay marriage, by definition, requires that one commit adultery to create children (i.e., procreate with someone outside of the marriage). We, as a society, have separated sex from marriage from offspring whereas along time ago the three were ideally linked together. The reason for government to recognize marriage is literally that, "the children are our future."

In the past you couldn't look at someone ans say they were fertile. So we subsidized all marriages in the hope that most would provide the next generation. Most benefits for marriage are really meant for the children. I know what's next, what about infertile couples. Those that didn't have children still served a purpose: to show that couples should get together as an example.

The sad part is that people will not stay in a marriage for the children anymore. Basically, we've become so selfish that marriage isn't about family but about two people having sex. So what gay-marriage advocates are asking is for me to subsidize (social security, healthcare, housing, etc.) their relationship because they want to have sex.

I would just as soon have government abolish the concept of marriage and treat everyone as a single person. It should redefine benefits for children as being for children so that a married childless couple would have the same benefits as two unmarried people living together.

Dear Jesus. (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806311)

Save us from your followers.

Why is this even an issue?

I don't want to see you getting it on in public, but that goes for straights too. What you do behind closed doors is none of my business just as what I do is none of yous.

If nothing else, just be smug about it and think on the inside how there'll be more room in heaven for you and your family.

Re:Sick of the anti-gay groups (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29806431)

It's not a "fear." If you are a Christian, it is explicitly forbidden. Read verse 22 here [biblegateway.com] .

Re:Sick of the anti-gay groups (-1, Troll)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806455)

I saw an article on Yahoo! the other day about an interracial couple being denied their wedding license for being interracial. In the article, it stated that the constitution says that we can marry "whoever we want". Shame that's not true. Oh well...as they say, it's the old people that are opposing gay marriage the most. We just have to wait a few years, then we can re-send gay marriage laws all over the country and finally get this biblical fear knocked out. I mean really, what year is it?

For laws that are even less specific, would you prefer to have the ability (or let others have the ability) to marry animals or inanimate objects? Where exactly do you prefer to set the moral standard for marriage if not between a man and a woman? I agree there is nothing wrong with interracial couples under the premise a person has no control over their race however I'm also someone who believes a person *does* have control over their sexual preferences and therefore should not get special treatment if they choose a preference that goes against societal standards. And it is those societal standards that continue to be tested in the West and the people continue to show they are against gay marriage (not so much in the New England states or in San Francisco though). Of course, if you are a liberal who believes there is no personal responsibility and by extension you have no control over your sexual preferences then you believes that you are being treated unfairly in the eyes of the law when you are told you cannot marry someone of the same sex. The lack of personal responsibility is a major issue in American society today that needs remedied, fast.

then we can re-send gay marriage laws

By the way, your use of the word "re-send" is not correct. I believe you mean "rescind".

Buzz Words! (1)

jchawk (127686) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806193)

It's interesting that the poster was quick to point out that the website is SEO-optimized. Taking a look at the HTML it looks pretty clean to me with plenty of links but nothing out of the ordinary. The poster should also point out that the website uses lots of text, favors the color black and leans towards blue-colored-links because it's equally irrelevant.

I'm not sure what his point is by this other then to make the post sound more emotional. I'm all for a good sensationalize but pointing out SEO-optimization in this context is stupid.

Re:Buzz Words! (2, Informative)

i_ate_god (899684) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806229)

Being SEO optimized == the persons name being indexed and associated with being anti gay.

Re:Buzz Words! (1)

jchawk (127686) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806435)

Using that logic posting on slashdot should associate all of us posters with being anti sex

Oh wait... :-P

Re:Buzz Words! (1)

silentace (992647) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806267)

You could of just called him a douchebag for saying "SEO-optimized"... Maybe after the site was "SEO-optimized" he could go to the "ATM machine" to get some cash out. Then go pick up a "NIC card" to increase his SEO abilities. But your comment was rediculous anyways, because SEO would increase its probability of being more acurating archived/crawled by search bots.

Wait a minute here (5, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806195)

put the names of all people who publicly endorsed R-71 on a public, SEO-optimized website.

So you're telling me that you can sue someone for publicly telling everyone (via a website) something you publicly told everyone?

Look, mate, when you sign a petition, what you're doing is saying to anyone who cares to listen in the world that you endorse the views of the petition. If you aren't willing to attach your name to what the petition says, don't sign it.

Re:Wait a minute here (4, Insightful)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806233)

Maybe they got the impression that voting was anonymous from the fact that it usually is in elections. Secret ballots are necessary for democracy to function free from intimidation - these people took part in a non-secret ballot, and now they are being intimidated, Q.E.D.

Re:Wait a minute here (3, Insightful)

quantumplacet (1195335) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806321)

except they didn't go into a voting both and pull a lever or press a button. when you walk into a closed voting booth, there's a presumption of anonymity. when you sign a petition a street corner, there is not.

Re:Wait a minute here (5, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806401)

The are not being intimidated. If having your name put on website that lists your participation in a public action counts as intimidation then virtually anything does. I also find the argument people not understanding the difference between a circulating petition and a balloted election a bit of stretch.

Secret ballot elections make sense, because we want people to be able to vote their conscience free from social pressure. I don't think though anonymity should be an expectation when you are participating in a public debate, and a petition is a form of participation.

Re:Wait a minute here (4, Insightful)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806561)

The are not being intimidated. If having your name put on website that lists your participation in a public action counts as intimidation then virtually anything does.

So what was the point of the web site then? Would you hold the same position if an evangelical Christian organization published a web site containing the names of people who signed a pro-gay marriage petition, or would that somehow be different?

Re:Wait a minute here (3, Insightful)

ZekoMal (1404259) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806315)

People who hate on gays don't want to be seen as horrible people; they're nice to gays in front of them but try to get them shut down. You know, like that psycho ex-girlfriend who meets up with your current girlfriend and convinces her you're a terrible person even though she hates the girlfriend's guts.

Re:Wait a minute here (1, Insightful)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806487)

People who hate on gays don't want to be seen as horrible people

Careful, there's a baby in that bathwater.

People who are opposed to same-sex marriage don't necessarily "hate on gays." They're just... opposed to same-sex marriage. In fact, it's this broad-stroke-painted stereotype of everyone who opposes gay marriage as no-necked, knuckle-dragging, fag-bashing, Republican-voting, Judy-Garland-hating neanderthals that the peeps who voted for this in Washington state are trying to avoid getting tarred with. Their opposition has done a real good job of perpetuating that stereotype, and it's no more valid than the one of gays as all being lisping, limp-wristed nancy boys.

You want to know the biggest block of demographic opposition to gay marriage? Blacks and Latinos, particularly Mexican immigrants. And you wonder why Obama has back-burnered GLBT issues now that he's been elected...

Re:Wait a minute here (5, Insightful)

Speare (84249) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806403)

Signing a petition does not mean that you agree with the views of the petitioner, it just means that you agree that the issue should be brought to a wider vote to decide the matter. I've known plenty of people who would sign pretty much any referendum or initiative in the states that have that process. In their view, it just airs more discussion and opportunities for democracy.

Re:Wait a minute here (3, Insightful)

friday_drag.net (905390) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806459)

No when you sign a petition you saying that you think the issue is worthy of voting on, not that you agree or disagree - only that you want the matter settled by the voters.

Clarification (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806235)

I do not know about others, but I have got a wrong impression from this summary that the names have been already made public on the aforementioned "SEO-optimized website". There is no such website yet.

This is insanity (1, Funny)

i_ate_god (899684) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806263)

Canada legalized gay marriage and now the TSX is 1500 points bigger than the DOW Jones.

The anti gay movement's logic is just about as valid as what I just said in favour of gay marriage.

If I signed, I wouldn't care. (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806283)

This is in the context of any issue, not just the issue at hand. I'm not sure what the down side is to being listed on this web site. The site should actually be a recruitment site for those who did sign. I'd be like "Yeah, I signed this petition. Look at all the other people who did too."

It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing (1)

ecocd (1660517) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806295)

While I understand sunshine laws are important, I can't help but think there should be a tag for bewardoftheleopard.

Thats an easy question... (4, Insightful)

Ritchie70 (860516) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806313)

An assault on civil rights, an assault on marriage, or an assault on sunshine laws and freedom of information?

It's all about gay marriage. Neither group involved cares about any of the rest of that stuff.

Personally, I don't get it; so long as you don't make me marry a person of the same gender against my will, why do I care what you do? Don't pretend there aren't same-sex families already; according to one of the links, 18% of same-sex couples in Washington state are raising a child under 18.

I do have a tiny little bit of sympathy for the signers of the petition; I don't think people really understand the legal details behind the signing of a petition, and many of them many have assumed that it was as anonymous and protected as voting.

One shouldn't take a stand that involves limiting someone else's rights but only be willing to do it anonymously. That's just chicken shit.

And if you just shrugged and signed because your neighbor, coworker or fellow church goer asked you too without actually believing it, that's chicken shit too.

Re:Thats an easy question... (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806463)

I do have a tiny little bit of sympathy for the signers of the petition; I don't think people really understand the legal details behind the signing of a petition, and many of them many have assumed that it was as anonymous and protected as voting.

I have none. Don't put your name on something whose ramifications you don't understand. I now ask for a copy of the privacy policy before putting my information on ANYTHING. If I don't get a good result, then I make something up (except as prohibited by law, i.e. filling out a government form.) I don't care if I'm at a video store or what.

One shouldn't take a stand that involves limiting someone else's rights but only be willing to do it anonymously. That's just chicken shit.

Doing it anonymously is not taking a stand.

And if you just shrugged and signed because your neighbor, coworker or fellow church goer asked you too without actually believing it, that's chicken shit too.

Amen to that.

Re:Thats an easy question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29806493)

Don't pretend there aren't same-sex families already; according to one of the links, 18% of same-sex couples in Washington state are raising a child under 18.

But pretending that problems don't exist is the American way!

Re:Thats an easy question... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29806637)

Its about benefits not rights. You have a right to enter into a private contract with anyone of both parties freewill and of age.

This is not about the right of marriage that gays have. They have that right.

Its about the licensing via the Government marriage license for Government benefits i.e. taxes more favorable insurance requirements and so on and so forth.
Frankly so away with marriage licensing altogether and requirements on spouse coverage as move to a flat tax or quasi flat tax even and then issue would die.
No more children on your tax cut. Start medicare/FICA and to start at $15K rather than 0.

If insurance companies want to cover same-sex partner etc the can. Oh fix healthcare by govt. getting out of and not more into.

Both the right and left can't figure less Govt not more would fix this. Actually they have but its bad for "business" so to speak.

My vote, my business (0, Offtopic)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806427)

This is an appalling attempt at intimidation and coercion of those who would vote a given way. The public has a right to vote any damn way they want, and it has long been precedent that it was no one's business. I'm married, should I somehow be able to demand to know how my wife voted? Of course not, it's not my business, it's hers and hers alone. Similar stunts in the past have cost people vandalism to their home, their jobs, and their businesses. Your vote should be yours alone and not subject to public intimidation. It's your right, it shouldn't cost you to exercise it.

This is not about how your public representatives voted - public representatives who represent the public should have their votes known. This is a thinly veiled attempt at public coercion of those who don't want to vote a certain way on a certain public issue. The fact that you may happen to agree with the view of those who are pulling this stunt should be put aside. What if it was a conservative state and such a stunt was pulled? All of a sudden your in an area that doesn't approve of your vote and you get to be the one who is harassed by nutcases in the public.

A vocal minority should never be allowed to control the population, regardless of cause or locality. That's the entire point of putting something like this on a ballot, to show if a certain issue is getting coverage simply because of a vocal minority or media bias, or if that's the way the public really feels. The ballot allows the vocal minority to be exposed and for the public to speak it's will. For example look at approvals for medical marijuana in places like California.

People need to learn that a vocal minority is just that regardless of the issue and not let such people unduly intimidate the public at large. The issue the vocal minority supports shouldn't matter, it might be one you agree with this time but could just as easily be one you disagree with next time.

Re:My vote, my business (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29806519)

The point of signing a petition is to publicly state your support for something. In this case, each signer was hoping that enough other people would publicly state their support for putting this referendum on the ballot that the legislature would be required to do so.

The actual votes on the referendum are secret, as they should be. The petitioners identities are not and cannot not be secret. The forms they signed (and any knowledge of how a petition works) would indicate this.

Re:My vote, my business (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806559)

A vocal minority should never be allowed to control the population, regardless of cause or locality.

Exactly, which is why the names should be made public.

Placing an initiative on a ballot is a legislative process, just like passing a new speed limit or making it illegal to carry an ice cream cone in your pocket.

I would also be remiss not to mention that those responsible for the referendum are deliberately gaming the election process.

They know damn well mid-terms have much lower turn-out. The lower the office elected the less people show up.

The "vocal minority" responsible for the referendum will be disproportionately represented, and the silent majority who are OK with gay marriage but don't care enough to interrupt their day will not be represented at all, allowing an even SMALLER minority to be oppressed.

Re:My vote, my business (1)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806577)

If you really think petitions should be top secret, you may change your tune when somebody who doesn't like you take a petition to evict you from your town, signed by every person on town. Remember, to prevent intimidation, it's top secret so nobody is allowed to view it, but trust him, the entire town wants you out, better get packing. If you can't look at names, that's the same as a vote where nobody can count the votes. You pull a lever, and then the president announces he won another term. Trust him, he's the president after all.

The real issue is that it's public! (-1, Troll)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806453)

It's a well known fact that making votes public and not anonymous well influence the votes.

It's a miracle that it didn't influence it too much but you can bet that next time any topic will come up for voting, people will think more of "what the neighbors / friends will think about it" than about their own opinion.

Saddam Hussein also checked who didn't vote for him. That's how democratic this system is. Equal to Iraqi democracy before the invasion.

Ultimately it's about religion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29806477)

Get most people talking long enough and it'll come back to "well the Bible says". If this is a religious issue than the laws themselves against gay marriage are illegal. If they insist on being able to push religious agendas in government and law then they need to loose their protections. Tax church property and take away any government protection for religion then you can push your agendas until then shut up and go back to hating people in private the way God intended.

Assault on Rationality (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806515)

Why is everybody acting within their rights given by law an assault? Has WA legalized assault? Be careful what you wish for and twice for what you accuse.

From the very first codification of law, that of Hammurabi, marriage has been specified as a contract between two people. Nobody can block that on moral grounds and they'd be hard pressed to nullify a contract of partnership onany grounds without having the business community up in arms. The ceremonies are only that; next time, I'm jumping a broom.

The license is not a license to get married/contracted/etc., it's a tax stamp. It is the Fuck Tax. Nothing prevents you from fucking, but they want to tax it, same as nothing prevents you from parking your car in your driveway in Virginia, but you have to have your parking sticker up to date or you can get a parking ticket. They'll tax anything that lots of people want or what to do. Fuck the Fuck Tax. Paying a tax doesn't make a marriage "legal", it makes it paid up. A legal marriage is a binding contract of partnership between two people with possessions.

I am not a lawyer. But I can and have "legally" performed that ceremony for people, "legal" or not, "Fuck Tax" or none, and had to examine the relevant laws. By the way, you want to know how to qualify to "legally" marry people? Say so. The government has no right (they've specifically divorced themselevs from the ability) to dictate, determine or oversee who is and is not "qualified".

Streisand effect (3, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806545)

So... my only real religious belief is in the Streisand effect, so someone please provide a torrent and a wikileaks link to the list of names.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect [wikipedia.org]

Note, that some people on the list did not sign the petition, if you know what I mean. Someone could have sat down with the parish directory, or my kids elementary school family book, or my employers phone directory, or my ham radio club mailing list, etc, and "helpfully" signed me up, to "save me the time of signing myself up". I think that is the real reason they are fighting the publicity, heck, I'd file suit if I learned someone put my name on that list of ignorant hillbillys, as that would obviously defame my reputation...

Sunshine laws are often used for intimidation (4, Interesting)

bumfuckedegypt (1384377) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806547)

In Missouri, federal funding was issued to the ADAP program (AIDS Drug Assistance Program) to provide life giving medicine to people who could otherwise not afford the $4000 a month in medicine bills. Various groups opposed to gays and people with AIDS (including the goobers who think it all a fake disease) would often times use sunshine laws to intimidate such people who received the benefits. Meetings were held to help determine the best way to help people with the meds money and often times, the recipients of the funds were invited to attend since the decisions made impacted their benefits, health, life etc... People with these groups would find out where the meetings were with sunshine law request and then come and photograph everyone there, write down their license plates, etc... They would then publish the information on the internet and in some cases local newspapers. This led to people losing their jobs (unfortunately, in Missouri, it's legal to fire someone based on pretty much anything.) The sunshine law was used for the harassment and intimidation of people. It eventually meant that people stopped coming to meetings. Some of them had families harassed and lost everything due to this harassment. The state now just unilaterally decides for people what they can and cant have. Often turning people away that are in dire need of this medicine to stay healthy. I do believe that sunshine laws have their place but there should be limits. Using them to harass people is wrong and it should be illegal.

International Audience (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29806571)

I'm probably the only one who read the title as beeing about Western Australia's debat about daylight savings.

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