Signatures on initiative and referendum petitions in Washington cannot be kept secret, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday in a landmark test of the state’s Public Records Act and policies for transparency in government.The case was brought by anti-gay architects of the Referendum 71 drive, to force a 2009 vote on the state’s “everything but marriage” domestic partnership law. The same forces who opposed domestic partnership are now trying to use the law to claim Washington doesn’t need to enact Referendum 74 to legalize same-sex marriage.The case of Doe vs. Reed has traveled through the federal courts, at one point reaching the U.S. Supreme Court. It was an opinion by conservative Justice Antonin “Nino” Scalia that the 9th Circuit cited in rejecting the bid to keep names secret.
More from the Port Orchard Independent and David Ammons, communications director for the Office of the Secretary of State.
Additional background on Doe v. Reed and NFOIC's and Washington Coalition for Open Government.