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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

August 13, 2009 at 4:02 PM

Referendum 71 petition: harassment or disclosure?

There’s a reason they want to hide

What comes around goes around. Isn’t it ironic, as reported by Lornet Turnbull [“Should donor names be secret,” page one, Aug. 12] that the proponents of Referendum 71, who are attempting to harass and threaten the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender community by denying us our constitutional rights, are now upset about being intimidated themselves?

They are both cowardly and hypocritical, thus proving themselves to be the weak-kneed bigots that they are (justly) called.

Supporters of controversial causes who are on the side of justice, freedom and equality have no desire to hide, despite real threats. These brave souls have been on the front lines of promoting the human values of tolerance and freedom, and many gave their lives for these causes. We should never forget their sacrifices.

However, those who side with the bigots always choose deception and secrecy. Perhaps the Referendum 71 backers should also don white hoods.

By the way, for those who support marriage and domestic partnership equality for all, the correct vote is yes for Referendum 71.

— Michael Jacobs, Seattle

The PDC’s job is to keep government open

It’s pretty simple. The Public Disclosure Commission of Washington state is an official agency. They list the names and hometowns of donors and signers to all public campaigns and candidates, the amount of their contributions and their place of employment. It’s the law.

We have a transparent government referendum system that applies to everybody in the same way. Everyone who signs or donates to a referendum will have their name made public. Most people would be proud to stand by their convictions and have their name attached to a referendum they signed on to.

I guess Republicans aren’t very proud of their Referendum 71 activity. They don’t want anyone to know who supports their referendum. Individually, they deny they are part of the anti-gay movement, yet collectively, they sign on and finance these referendums and then use expensive, high-powered lawyers to obscure who does what.

— Doug Morrison, Seattle

No reason to hide this information

Citizens who prize civil liberties strongly support our state’s public-records and freedom-of-information laws. Yet we understand why the lists of donors to the Socialist Workers Party were rightly kept secret — Trotskyites had suffered seven decades of physical violence/deportation/loss of employment and the like. The fears of the SWP were demonstrably real.

On the other hand, the backers of Referendum 71 are urging nondisclosure of their donors’ identities solely on conjectural grounds. No church has ever been firebombed by a posse of dykes on bikes. The fact that some person has posted intemperate remarks on a blog site hardly rises to the same level of well-founded fear.

Should any one person be able to casually overturn established state policy by something as evanescent as an Internet posting? (Wouldn’t this give an incentive to supporters of a referendum or initiative to post such comments themselves?)

I hope the Public Disclosure Commission carefully considers this aspect of the dispute it now has put on its Aug. 27 agenda.

— Phil Bereano, Seattle

Harassment, indeed

I empathize with the clients of Steven Pigeon, attorney for Protect Marriage Washington.

Some people don’t need to support referendums to be vulnerable to “bullying, harassment and threats of violence,” they just need to walk down the street holding their same-sex partner’s hand or, even worse, try to get married.

— Brett Moyer, Seattle

The Christian view

The question I always find myself asking when it comes to gay marriage is this: What would Jesus think about it? The reason this question comes up is because the vast majority of groups that are opposed to gay marriage claim to be Christian and acting in the best interests of Christianity.

Jesus worked tirelessly for the poor, the downtrodden, the marginalized, the sick, the discarded. He invoked the Old Testament when he instructed people to love thy neighbor as thyself. Jesus was concerned about people being treated equally. I can’t imagine that he would have wanted today’s Christians to work so feverishly to keep a particular group unequal.

Not to mention, not everyone in this country is Christian. Why should I have to submit to your religious laws when I do not attend a Christian church or ascribe to a Christian creed? This country was founded on the basis of religious freedom and tolerance. Besides, Senate Bill 5688 concerns law, not religion.

Imagine if all of these “Christian” people who have worked so hard for this referendum put their energies toward helping the homeless, the orphaned, the abused, the infirm — like Jesus did. So much good could be accomplished.

— Sabath Mullet, Issaquah

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