The Seattle Weekly posts file of Referendum 71 petition images

Under the headline “Download Full List of Anti-Gay-Marriage Ref. 71 Signers Here–Court Order Too Late to Stop You” the Seattle Weekly has published a link to a file containing images of the 2009 Referendum 71 petitions.

Referendum 71 was an effort by anti-gay Protect Marriage Washington to roll back Washington’s domestic partnership law at the polls. The state made history in November, 2009 when over 53% of the electorate voted to approve Referendum 71, thus confirming the new law, making Washington the first state in the nation to vote affirmatively in support of comprehensive relationship recognition for LGBT families.

From Seattle Weekly:

The following file contains a list of names and signatures that, at the moment, the state of Washington will not show you. The thousands of handwritten names are from folks who signed petitions to put Referendum 71 on the ballot in 2009, which would have vetoed Washington’s domestic-partner law and limited rights to same-sex couples statewide. 

That effort lost. But the effort by gay-rights supporters and others who’ve been looking to make the names of the petition signers public has remained dedicated.

Now, even though an emergency court order has stopped the state from releasing the names, for five days the enormous file of names was public and we got our copy while it could still be got.

The names were ordered to be released following the unsuccessful lawsuit of the Protect Marriage group, which had sued to keep the names secret, arguing that the petition signers would be harassed.

Here is Seattle Weekly‘s updated link to a zipped folder containing .tiff files of the scanned petition sheets. Warning: the zipped file is 2.7 GB and may take over an hour to download.

Note that because the petition sponsor Protect Marriage Washington asked for more personal information than state law requires to verify voter signatures on a petition, the email addresses of petition signers who furnished them are now visible to the world. Protect Marriage Washington, apparently trying to use the R-71 petition to build their contact list, has undermined the privacy of the signatories. CORRECTION: It appears that the Secretary of State redacted the email addresses before releasing the petitions to the public. CORRECTION2: After viewing more scans, it appears that only some email addresses were redacted. Many remain visible.

The debate over the Referendum 71 petitions stems from PMW’s Doe v. Reed lawsuit in which they sought a special right to legislate in secret. PMW is an organization affiliated with the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage.

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