Court case seeking protection for signers of pro-marriage petitionPosted: June 26, 2010 9:25 pm Eastern
By Bob Unruh Â© 2010 WorldNetDaily
Arguing death threats have a significant "chilling" effect on free speech, an attorney representing supporters of Washington state's traditional-marriage referendum says he's confident a lower court will decide to protect their names and addresses.
James Bopp Jr. of the James Madison Center, who represents the Protect Marriage Washington campaign in the dispute, has been trying to protect the 138,000 people who signed Referendum 71 petitions from homosexuals who publicly have stated they want to post personal-contact information on the Internet so activists can find them for "uncomfortable conversations."
"We've got affidavits from more than 60 people who were targeted, harassed. There are newspaper reports of more cases. This seems to be a concerted campaign â€¦ to attack and stifle the opposition through harassment," Bopp told WND today.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week it would not issue a blanket ban on the release of signatures on petition documents. The high court, however, explained its decision did not prevent the Washington state petition signers from gaining an exemption from public disclosure at the lower court.
Bopp was successful at the district-court level, obtaining an injunction preventing the public disclosure of any petition signatures "because the court found there was a First Amendment right that protects signing these petitions."