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9th Circuit says Referendum 71 petitions must be released while case is appealed

9th Circuit Court of Appeals Marriage equality Right-wing

By Jacob Combs

Yesterday brought us a disappointing decision from California that nonetheless puts us back on the track to success; today brings us another victory at the 9th Circuit, with the court denying Protect Marriage Washington’s request to block the release of Referendum 71 petitions while that group appeals an earlier court case that they lost.

Referendum 71 was Protect Marriage Washington’s failed attempt in 2009 to repeal Washington’s ‘everything but marriage’ law, under which same-sex couples are granted all the rights and benefits that heterosexual couples enjoy.  PMW went to court to block the release of the signatures of individuals who had signed petitions to put the referendum on the ballot.  The case made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled 8-1 that the signatures should be released, and handed the case back to the district court to determine whether transitional marriage supporters were subject to harassment.

As I wrote earlier this week, district court Judge Benjamin Settle ruled that Protect Marriage Washington could not prove that releasing the petitions would harm the signatories in any way.  PMW appealed to the 9th Circuit, and asked for a temporary injunction against releasing the petitions while the appeal is pending.

Today’s ruling that the release of the signatures must continue even while the case is on hold is a great sign.  The Washington Secretary of State has already begun to make CDs of signatures available to those who request them, and this ruling supports our efforts to ensure transparency in the initiative process.  NOM (which was affiliated with Protect Marriage Washington) is already playing a similar disclosure game in Minnesota.  Nevertheless, case after case has shown that this is a fight NOM is not going to win.

33 Comments

  • 1. Derek Williams  |  November 18, 2011 at 8:13 am

    The proponents of Proposition 8 are a far greater threat to the LGBT minority than we could ever be to them. Releasing the signatures will expose those who signed fraudulently:
    those under minimum legal age to sign
    those signing multiple times
    those signing for others without their consent
    those outwith the state, signing when they're ineligible
    signatures obtained under threat or duress, such as by threatening people in old folks' homes that they will be kicked out if they do not sign, or vulnerable employees will be sacked if they do not sign

    In New Zealand, a million strong petition against Fran Wilde's Homosexual Law Reform Bill of 1985 was thrown out because most of its signatures were obtained using the above tactics. The bill was passed into law in due course and remains in force to this day.

  • 2. Scott  |  November 18, 2011 at 8:15 am

    Reading the decision, I noticed that Judge N.R. Smith dissented, giving some credence to claims of harassment by Prop 8 proponents. Since he's also on the Prop 8 panel, I was wondering if anyone (Kathleen?) had some thoughts on if this is likely to carry over to the tapes appeal.

  • 3. be4marriage  |  November 18, 2011 at 9:45 am

    Judge Smith went to Brigham Young University and I believe is currently Mormon. I think we have always assumed he will vote in Favor of Proposition 8 and discrimination against gays and lesbians in general. Given his position on the laughable claims of harassment from R 71 case, I would assume that seals it.

  • 4. Fr. Bill  |  November 18, 2011 at 10:52 am

    The NY Times today has an article about a country-wide advertising blitz by the Mormon Church to counter the negative image many have that they are a cult, anti-gay, anti-women's equality, etc. It features those who don't fit the white male Republican image they have. The featured "non-stereotypes are intended to show that they are "just folks like us" – well, not US since in their view we shouldn't exist. Of course none of this has anything to do with a white male Republican Mormon running for office in 2012.

  • 5. Sagesse  |  November 18, 2011 at 11:22 am

    Mormons’ Ad Campaign May Play Out on the ’12 Campaign Trail
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/18/us/mormon-ad-ca

    The article says not one word to contradict the perception that the Mormon Church is anti-gay.

  • 6. AnonyGrl  |  November 18, 2011 at 11:56 am

    The Mormon church is not fighting to say they are NOT anti-gay, they are letting that one lie.

  • 7. Sagesse  |  November 18, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Clearly. It was just odd to read about how they were addressing the other issues, while being silent about their stance on gays. Their role in Prop 8 was mentioned, then just left hanging.

  • 8. AnonyGrl  |  November 18, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    LOL. I just had an attack of "stating the obvious-itis". 🙂

  • 9. fiona64  |  November 18, 2011 at 11:23 am

    *Two* white male Republican Mormons (remember, Brother Huntsman is running as well; he's just not getting much attention because he's the only GOP candidate who is *not* batshit crazy).

  • 10. shelostcontro1  |  November 18, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    grrrreat :

  • 11. Ronnie  |  November 18, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Subscribing & sharing…….

    Gay Couple Talks About Their 6 Decades of Commitment and Love: VIDEO: http://www.towleroad.com/2011/11/devotion.html

    "This is the first short film created for THE DEVOTION PROJECT, featuring William I. Campbell and John V. Hilton who met in the 1950's and have been together for 7 decades. The Devotion Project is an ongoing series of films documenting LGBT couples and the love they share."

    Here is the short film featuring Mr. Campbell & Mr. Hilton. (follow the towleroad link for another video featuring Anthony Osso, filmmaker & creator, explaining the backstory behind his short film series "The Devotion Project")…… <3…Ronnie

    [youtube vyFt65gkkbY http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyFt65gkkbY youtube]

  • 12. Sagesse  |  November 18, 2011 at 9:07 am

    Email from the 9th Circuit. Don't know any more than what this says.

    "Filed order (STEPHEN R. REINHARDT, MICHAEL DALY HAWKINS and N. RANDY SMITH) The parties are directed to submit supplemental briefs, no later than fourteen days from the date of this order, discussing the effect on this case of the California Supreme Court’s decision in Perry v. Brown, No. S189476, 2011 WL 5578873 (Cal. Nov. 17, 2011). The briefs shall not exceed twenty pages in length. No response or reply briefs will be permitted, and no motions for extension of time will be entertained."

  • 13. bjasonecf  |  November 18, 2011 at 9:19 am

    UPDATE: Perry Main Appeal

    Panel orders parties to file supplemental briefs after CaSC opinion

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/73132219

  • 14. bjasonecf  |  November 18, 2011 at 9:24 am

    UPDATE: PERRY Main Appeal

    Proponents' Motion to Consolidate appeal on vacating order and main appeal

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/73132999

  • 15. Sagesse  |  November 18, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    Curiosity. Would consolidating the main appeal with the appeal of the motion to vacate result in a delay?

  • 16. Sagesse  |  November 18, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Also from the 9th Circuit. Don't have the case numbers handy, but I believe this is a request from Proponents to consolidate the appeals on Perry and the motion to vacate.

    "Filed (ECF) Appellants Martin F. Gutierrez, Dennis Hollingsworth, Mark A. Jansson, Gail J. Knight and ProtectMarriage.com – Yes on 8, A Project of California Renewal Motion to consolidate cases 10-16696 11-16577. "

  • 17. bjasonecf  |  November 18, 2011 at 9:27 am

    UPDATE: PERRY Main Appeal

    Proponents' letter to 9th Circuit re California Supreme Court Decision

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/73133399

  • 18. peterplumber  |  November 18, 2011 at 9:32 am

    I have the R-71 petitions. It is a huge file, 4 GB. I am trying to reduce the size by eliminating the back of each petition page. It is a long & tedious project. __I would like to share these petitions! Adam (or Jacob) Call me or email me. You should have my contact info on file.

  • 19. renecito1  |  November 18, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    Im uploading them here (you can view or download with picasa, chrome displays better since it has zoom, is a huge amount of data so is taking a while. each gallery is a folder from the DVD, 27 total https://picasaweb.google.com/10407099253487027350

  • 20. Renecito1  |  November 18, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    The back of those petitions has the name of the gatherer.

  • 21. mark  |  November 18, 2011 at 9:36 am

    Who in California can enforce the courts ruling that NOMs donor list must be released?

  • 22. Mark  |  November 18, 2011 at 9:38 am

    I would assume Kamala Harris

  • 23. AnonyGrl  |  November 18, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Doesn't NOM have to file them, whether they are released or not? So wouldn't that mean that the state itself can release them if that is the way the ruling goes?

    Or did I miss a turn somewhere?

  • 24. bjasonecf  |  November 18, 2011 at 9:46 am

    UPDATE PERRY (Appeal to vacate)

    Proponents' Reply

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/73135389/23

  • 25. fiona64  |  November 18, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Wherein they make the completely unsupported assertion that same-sex marriage will "harm the institution of marriage over time." Argh.

  • 26. Lesbians Love Boies  |  November 18, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Hmmmm… I remember Andy Pugno saying he wasn't concerned about whether Judge walker was gay or not…gotta find the article…

    here: http://www.christianpost.com/news/impartiality-of

    But conservatives have remained largely quiet on the issue, which the Chronicle introduced as a “non-issue” when it revealed Sunday the “biggest open secret in the landmark trial over same-sex marriage” – that Vaughn Walker is himself gay.

    Andy Pugno, general counsel for the group that sponsored the Proposition 8 campaign, told the paper, ”We are not going to say anything about that."

  • 27. fiona64  |  November 18, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Mr. Pugno's pants are on fire.

  • 28. Andrew_SEA  |  November 18, 2011 at 11:52 am

    I will be interested in seeing whom signed these petitions. Just curious…

    There are a couple people in my office that sit cubicles away from me that have expressed religious opposition to me having any type of right. Not even the basics.

    What gets me is the attitude that because I am gay, nothing I do or say should be considered viable as I am abhorrant in the eyes of “their” understanding of god.

    I would be interested in seeing if they signed.

  • 29. Chris S  |  November 18, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    I like that typo: "transitional marriage supporters". Marriage has always been in a state of transition.

    Except I would say that "supporters of transitional marriage" refers to us, not them 😉

  • 30. Bryce  |  November 18, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    So, where can we see the petitions?

  • 31. Prop 8 Trial Tracker&hellip  |  December 12, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    […] you may recall, NOM’s been facing an uphill legal battle in Washington to keep the identities of individuals who signed its anti-gay petitions secret.  In […]

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