The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday rejected a claim by gay-rights opponents who, three years ago, sought to shield from release the names of those who signed Referendum 71 petitions.
Protect Marriage Washington, the campaign seeking at the time to repeal a portion of the state’s domestic partnership law, had argued that releasing the names of signers would subject them to harassment.
The court on Tuesday said the plaintiffs failed to show that disclosing the signatures is “reasonably likely to result in retaliation against those who signed” and noted that preventing the Secretary of State from continuing to fulfill requests for signatures would be meaningless since the names are already available on the internet.
Essentially, the court said, the case is moot.
The challenge by Protect Marriage Washington, Doe v Reed, began in 2009 in the middle of the Ref. 71 campaign and turned into a full-on legal battle that reached to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010.
The signatures have been publicly available since October 2011. Read the Secretary of State’s account here.