Federal judge maintains ban on R-71 petition release

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September 8, 2009

OLYMPIA, Washington: Although the Washington Secretary of State had intended to release copies of submitted Washington Referendum 71 signature petitions, U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle announced that he is going to keep the existing ban on releasing the petitions. Judge Settle is expected to make an official decision on September 10, 2009.[1] In August 2009, the Washington Public Disclosure Commission ruled that the names of donors to Protect Marriage Washington, in favor of R-71, are a matter of public record. In July the group filed a request for a temporary restraining order in order to not release the names. They argued that the disclosure of donors' names might put those signers at risk of harassment.[2] On July 29, 2009 a federal judge granted a temporary restraining order.[3]

In other news, a hearing of a lawsuit by Washington Families Standing Together will take place today at 1:30 pm in Thurston County. The case will be heard by Judge Tom McPhee.[4] Just last week, Referendum 71 challengers presented their case to King County Superior Court Judge Julie Spector, however, Judge Spector dismissed the lawsuit on the grounds that the lawsuit was filed in the wrong county.

A Second Superior Court Certification Challlenge, challenging the action as unlawful under the 11th Amendment and as the product of a system of unconstitutional prior restraints, was dismissed on September 11 by Thurston County Superior Court Judge Anne Hirsch, without the examination of any signatures. Plaintiff West will file an appeal with the Supreme Court on September 14. http://www.scribd.com/doc/19398403/Open-Government-Suit-targets-Washington-State-domestic-partneship-referendum

See also

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*Washington Referendum 71 (2009)