WA marriage measure before US Supreme Court

Protect Marriage Washington Files Supreme Court Brief to Protect Privacy of Petition Signers
By Protect Marriage Washington,

Protect Marriage Washington filed its opening brief today in the United States Supreme Court case of Doe #1 v. Reed.   Protect Marriage Washington sponsored a referendum in Washington and is asking the Supreme Court to prevent the state from releasing the names, addresses, and other personal information of more than 138,000 individuals that signed the petition.

The effort to place the names of the petition signers on the internet is the latest example of the campaign to harass and intimidate anyone supporting traditional marriage by making personal information available on the internet. Their efforts have resulted in death threats, physical violence, and property damage directed at individuals supporting a traditional definition of marriage.

James Bopp,Jr., lead counsel for Protect Marriage Washington, stated that “Public disclosure laws have been used to harass and intimidate voters. The First Amendment protects citizens engaged in political speech from being forced to reveal their identity to ensure that intimidation does not makes its way into the campaign toolbox. No one should have to endure death threats in order to stand up for what they believe in.”

On September 10, 2009, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington issued an order preventing the release of the names of the petition signers.  On October 15, 2009, the Ninth Circuit issued a single page order allowing the release of the names.  On October 20, 2009, the Supreme Court issued an emergency order preventing the release of the names until the appeal is decided.

The case is Doe #1 v. Reed. It will be argued before the United States Supreme Court on Wednesday, April 28, 2010. Protect Marriage Washington’s opening brief, along with the prior orders in the case, are available on the website of the James Madison Center for Free Speech, https://www.jamesmadisoncenter.org/WA/Ref71/Index.html under the “Washington Referendum 71 Petition Suit” heading.

James Bopp, Jr. has a national federal and state election law practice. He is General Counsel for the James Madison Center for Free Speech and former Co-Chairman of the Election Law Subcommittee of the Federalist Society.

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