'Who Signed' Posts R-71 Petition Signers Online

Feb 16, 2012

MarriAs promised, gay rights activists have posted the names and addresses of more than 100,000 Washington voters in an online searchable database. These voters signed petitions in 2009 to repeal Washington’s “everything but marriage” domestic partnership law.

The activists behind the database say they hope supporters of gay rights will search for people they know -- friends, neighbors, co-workers, even relatives -- who signed the petitions and have a frank discussion with them.

Larry Stickney, who led the R-71 effort two years ago, responds that “it’s all about intimidation.” He and his allies went to court to block the release of the petitions. They lost, although court appeals continue.

The database going live now comes just as opponents of same-sex marriage get ready to collect signatures for R-74. It would repeal Washington’s new “marriage equality” law. Joseph Backholm is leading that effort. But he’s not concerned the database will have a chilling effect.

“I think there’s a misunderstanding by some that people who hold our position on the marriage issue are ashamed to do so," Backholm says. "And I don’t think that that’s generally true.”

In fact, Backholm acknowledges the presence of this database might help his campaign. Suddenly he has a list of people sympathetic to the cause.

The two groups behind the database are Know Thy Neighbor and WhoSigned.org.

Who Signed Database: http://whosigned.org/

Know Thy Neighbor: http://www.knowthyneighbor.org/

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