The Supreme Court added five cases to its docket Friday, including one that will examine whether the names of voters who sign a petition against gay marriage can be made public.
Protect Marriage Washington, a Washington-state group that opposes same-sex marriage, solicited the names of more than 138,500 voters in an unsuccessful effort, Referendum 71, to overturn a law that grants same-sex couples domestic-partnership rights.
Gay rights advocates made a play to disclose those names publicly before the Nov. 3 vote to overturn the law, but signers said they feared retribution if their names were public.
A district court issued an order in September prohibiting the disclosure, which was voided by an Oct. 15 order from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that permitted the disclosure. The Supreme Court then intervened Oct. 20 and said the names could not be released until it ruled on the matter.
James Bopp Jr., the lead counsel for Protect Marriage Washington, is pleased the Supreme Court will now hear the case.
“No citizen should ever worry that they will be threatened or injured because they have exercised their right to engage in the political process,” he said in a statement. “The First Amendment protects citizens from being required to disclose their identity when they are engaged in political speech. The Supreme Court seemed to see the importance of hearing this case prior to the November 2009 elections when it stayed the release of the names at that time, and we look forward to their review of the case.”
This is the second time the Supreme Court has recently examined issues related to gay marriage and transparency.
Last week, it blocked a San Francisco court from broadcasting a federal trial over Proposition 8, a California ballot measure that banned gay marriage.
• Amanda Carpenter can be reached at email@example.com.
Amanda Carpenter writes the daily “Hot Button” column for The Washington Times. She was formerly a national political reporter for Townhall.com, the leading online publication for news, opinion and talk. Prior to that, she was a reporter for Human Events. Ms. Carpenter has made numerous media appearances that include segments on the Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, BBC and other ...
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