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November 8, 2011 at 6:40 PM

Judge rejects effort to withhold Ref. 71 signatures

U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle on Tuesday rejected a motion by Protect Marriage Washington to block public release of Referendum 71 petitions while they appeal an earlier ruling by him that the public is entitled to the records.

Settle had ruled in October that Protect Marriage Washington had provided no compelling evidence of threats or harassment against petition signers and was not entitled to exemption from the state’s Public Records Act.

Ref. 71 was a failed attempt by Protect Marriage two years ago to repeal the expansion of Washington’s domestic-partnership law. Voters retained the law, 53 percent to 47 percent.

His ruling does not, however, mean the petitions will be available soon, according to the Secretary of State’s office, noting that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals previously said it would give Protect Marriage Washington five days after Settle’s latest ruling to file an emergency motion for non-disclosure while the appeal is under way. That is expected in a day or two.

Comments | More in Government | Topics: Federal court

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