Referendum 71 in Washington State: Supreme Court Blocks Revelation of Signatories

October 20, 2009

The U.S. Supreme Court has blocked a move to release the names and addresses of those who signed a petition referring gay rights legislation to the ballot in Washington State. The result is that Referendum 71, which would repeal domestic partnerships for same-sex couples enacted during the last legislature, will be put to a vote on November 3, 2009 with the signatures that placed it on the ballot kept under wraps.

There were eight votes to maintain an order concealing the signatories responsible for placing the issue on the ballot. Justice John Paul Stevens offered the sole dissent. The order will remain in force until the Court either refuses to grant certiorari, or it grants cert., hears the case and rules. Either alternative is unlikely to occur before Washington voters make their voices heard this fall.