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    New York Times: Privacy Looms Over Gay Rights Vote

    The New York Times has a story about privacy and political petitions.

    At a time when voters in many states are using petitions to qualify ballot measures on issues from gay rights to property rights, a legal dispute over the identity of 138,000 petition signers here is raising new questions about privacy, free speech and elections in the Internet age. […]

    On Tuesday, voters in Washington State will decide whether to extend to registered domestic partners the same rights married couples have, short of marriage. But the campaign over the referendum, placed on the ballot by opponents of same-sex marriage, has been overshadowed by one issue: whether the individual names of the petitioners should be made public, and ultimately, circulated on the Web. […]

    Some advocates for releasing the names who support the expansion of the state’s domestic partnership rights say they want to post the names of petition signers as a check against fraud but also to encourage potentially “uncomfortable” conversations with the people who signed the petitions. […]

    Opponents of releasing the names, led by Protect Marriage Washington, the group behind the referendum, say gay rights groups are threatening free speech by intimidating petition signers.

    One Response to “New York Times: Privacy Looms Over Gay Rights Vote”

    1. Philip Chandler Says:

      As an openly gay man, I want to know just who votes in favour of stripping me of rights so basic and so fundamental that the overwhelming majority of heterosexuals don’t give them as much as a second thought. I want to know whether the local store at which I purchase groceries, or the state representative who is supposed to support my interests, or the political figure running for office, or the author of the most recent best-selling novel, has cast a vote to deprive me of a fundamental right. I have every right, as a consumer and as a voter, to boycott those business establishments and individuals who have contributed towards the passage of measures intended to relegate me to second-class status. Furthermore, the Washington referendum process has been protected by disclosure rules since the early 1970s; it is amazing to see how the very conservatives who have traditionally complained about the need for openness and transparency (so as to identify “special interest” groups and their contributions to such measures) now turn coat and seek to hide behind the veil of anonymity.

      Perhaps these men and women are experiencing a taste of the venomous abuse, hatred, and ugliness that they have directed towards members of the gay and lesbian community.

      It is not so pleasant when the boot is on the other foot, is it?

      PHILIP CHANDLER

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