As I mentioned earlier, the anti-gay lobby appealed to the Supreme Court in January to keep petitions for Referendum 71 sealed, supposedly to protect the bigots who signed from harassment and violence. I posted the Secretary of State's brief, which argues the state should release the names and addresses, this morning. This week the pro-gay lobby, Washington Families Standing Together, which ran the campaign to approve Referendum 71, filed its own brief in the case (.pdf). This is the heart of the argument:

The Court should reject petitioners' constitutional challenge—an attack on a common, reasonable, and content-neutral public disclosure requirement. States are under no obligation to provide an initiative or referendum process in the first instance and must be free to define that process as a public one and to apply reasonable time, place, and manner regulation to ensure its fair administration. With telling and nearly complete unanimity, states treat referendum and initiative petitions as public records.

Petitioners contend that public disclosure of these government records threatens "harassment" of those who have signed the petitions, but the record before the Court fails to justify an absolute constitutional rule barring disclosure of petitions on any subject under any circumstances. Citizens of Washington and other states have considered initiative and referenda on a wide variety of issues, including some of the most controversial of our time. Yet petitioners have marshaled but one initiative and one referendum, both on a single subject matter, in which some alleged "harassment" occurred, hardly a widespread historical pattern sufficient to support their request for sweeping intervention by this Court into state governance.

The threat to an initiative or referendum process lies elsewhere, and petitioners would only make it worse. With disturbing frequency, the initiative and referendum process has been plagued with signature gathering fraud, illegal activity that threatens the fair administration of the process and one which the states have struggled to control. In numerous instances only public disclosure of the petition signatures revealed the fraud, allowing corrective action and, in some instances, criminal prosecution.