Washington State’s Ref. 71 Petitioners to Have Names Posted Online
OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE:
Seattle, WA, June 1st, 2009 –
WhoSigned.org, a grassroots organization of Washington State residents, announced today that it would make the names of Referendum 71 petitioners looking to overturn the expanded domestic partnership law accessible online. The law would grant same-sex and senior couples (over 62 years of age) in state registered domestic partnerships the same rights as married couples.
The petitioners have until July 25th to collect the necessary 150,721 signatures, a minimum of 120,577 signatures plus a recommended buffer of 25%, to place Referendum 71 on the November 2009 ballot. If they are successful, the new law will not go into effect as expected on July 25th and could be overturned by voters on the November 2009 ballot.
WhoSigned.org will make the petitioners names accessible online once the petition has been verified by the Washington Secretary of State and has become part of the public record.
“This is about taking responsibility,” said WhoSigned.org director Brian Murphy. “Petition signers are choosing to prolong discrimination against fellow citizens who pay taxes, contribute to their community and care for their families. This can’t be allowed to happen in secret and without a frank public discussion. We hope that potential petition signers realize the serious consequences their actions will have on gay and straight couples and their families.”
WhoSigned.org expects Washington State’s pro-equality citizens to use its online tools to find the names of people they know, and talk with those people about the real world impact of their actions. “Conversations like these can be uncomfortable, but they are necessary for people to understand how vital these basic rights and protections are for gay and straight families alike.”
WhoSigned.org was originally formed in response to Referendum 65 which sought to overturn the bill establishing limited domestic partnership rights for same-sex and senior couples in Washington State. Referendum 65 failed to get the required signatures and no names were published online.
WhoSigned.org is partnering with KnowThyNeighbor.org, a national gay rights group that has worked with other grassroots organizations to publish petitioner information in several other states including Massachusetts, Florida, Arkansas, and Oregon.