Liberty Counsel Files Brief with High Court
WASHINGTON, DC - Last week, Liberty Counsel filed an Amicus Brief with the United States Supreme Court supporting the privacy of proponents who signed a petition in favor of Referendum 71, which placed on the ballot the question of repealing the recent law giving all the privileges of marriage to homosexual partners in Washington. In retaliation for the signers' support of the petition, pro-homosexual groups used Washington's Freedom of Information Act to request that the names and addresses of petition signers be made public and issued a press release encouraging followers to hold "personal and uncomfortable conversations" with any person who signed the petition.
If the U.S. Supreme Court condones making public the names and addresses of individuals who signed the petition, supporters in Washington would likely face the same persecution, as did supporters of Proposition 8 in California. There, when records were made public by a local judge, marriage supporters received death threats, envelopes with white powder, damage to their property, were forced to resign their jobs, and received confrontational calls and emails from same-sex marriage activists.
Releasing the identities of petition signers would violate the First Amendment, because it would result in the suppression of protected speech. It would make these voters vulnerable to harassment because of their political choice and would have a significant chill on freedom of speech.
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear this case on April 28th, to determine whether supporters' names and addresses are subject to the Freedom of Information Act in Washington. James Bopp Jr., of Bopp, Coleson and Bostrom, will be arguing the case on behalf of those who signed the petition.
Mathew D. Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, commented, "The right to petition government lies at the foundation of freedom. If people fear for their safety because they signed a petition in support of their right to vote, then they will refrain from exercising a fundamental freedom. We do not allow someone to intimidate voters at the ballot box. We must not allow bullies to frighten people from petitioning the government for the right to vote. We do not live in a rogue regime. We live in America, where the rule of law should be respected and where everyone should have the opportunity to petition government without fear of reprisal."
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