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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 7, 2009 at 6:00 AM

Referendum 71

Divisive tactic is the wrong invitation to dialogue

I am a registered voter and a member of the gay community. I care deeply about domestic-partnership rights being upheld. However, I am also disturbed by WhoSigned. org’s plan to publish the names of those who sign the Referendum 71 petition [“Group wants to name names,” NWTuesday, June 2].

This is an inflammatory action regarding a highly emotional topic. It attempts to intimidate people by making them think twice about exercising their legal right for fear that they may have an uninvited visitor at home or an unwanted conversation in line at the grocery store. This is not the sort of invitation to dialogue our community should be promoting.

Common justifications — it’s all public record anyway; it’s being done elsewhere; we just want to talk; our intentions are harmless — mean nothing balanced against the gravity of condoning political intimidation as an acceptable tool.

I urge WhoSigned. org to find a less divisive way to encourage discussion between the gay community and our neighbors.

Our community is commonly accused of holding values detrimental to the well-being of society. To Brian Murphy of WhoSigned.org I say: Do not bless our critics with an act that appears to justify that conclusion.

— Christen F. Kaufman, University Place

Naming signers a move typical of uncivilized thugs

So members of WhoSigned.org and KnowThyNeighbor.org want to publish Referendum 71 signers’ names, eh? I say bring it on. I hope they have enough money to handle all the bullying, harassment, trespassing and similar lawsuits that will be filed against them.

What they are doing is nothing less than what Nazi/Gestapo/KGB groups did to silence dissent. Remember, while the First Amendment of the Constitution guarantees “freedom of speech,” it does not guarantee the “freedom to be heard” or the “freedom to silence those you disagree with.”

Simply put, WhoSigned.org wants nothing less than forced censorship of views and opinions they don’t like, which is what Third-World tyrants, dictators, despots, spoiled brats and similar unsavory individuals and groups do.

These groups instead should sponsor a competing referendum for their side and let the Washington voters determine the issue. Is it because they know their side may not win at the ballot box that they behave like uncivilized, Third-World thugs instead?

— Ken Simmons, Auburn

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