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09:51 | 17th December 2017

News: World

Thu 29 Apr, 2010
By Sam Bristowe


Running a democracy takes a certain amount of civic courage

Latest Headlines

Gay Soldiers shouldnt command troops say's Brazillian General.

A Brazilian general’s comment that gay soldiers should not be allowed to command troops sparked fierce criticism today from gay rights groups and a national lawyers’ organisation that champions human rights


SJP – SATC2 = LGBT

Sarah Jessica Parker has given away her tickets to the Sex and the City 2 premier in a bid to raise money for equal LGBT rights.


Five arrested in Kenya over gay wedding

Kenya police on Friday arrested five suspected homosexuals in a coastal resort town after hundreds of residents protested over a planned gay wedding, a local official said.


Prop 8 to be made into a film

Seeking to overcome a broadcast blackout imposed by the US Supreme Court, a pair of Los Angeles filmmakers have undertaken the task of faithfully recreating the federal trial on California’s same-sex marriage ban for the internet – all 60-plus hours of it; every “um,” “yes, your honour” and “objection!”


Court not convinced over petitioner IDs kept secret

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The Supreme Court seemed skeptical Wednesday of arguments by gay rights opponents that the names on a petition asking for the repeal of Washington state's domestic partnership law should be kept secret.

Several justices questioned whether people who voluntarily signed a petition asking for a public referendum could then expect privacy. They were concerned that keeping the names of petitioners private might invalidate other vital open records like voter registration rolls or lists of donors to political candidates.

"Running a democracy takes a certain amount of civic courage," said Justice Antonin Scalia, who also called the arguments to keep the names private "touchy-feely."



The case could draw a new line between voters' desire for openness in government and the right to political speech unfettered by fear of intimidation.

Opponents of the law that expanded the rights of gay couples mounted a petition drive that succeeded in getting a referendum on the "everything-but-marriage" law on last year's ballot. But voters narrowly backed the law that grants registered domestic partners the same legal rights as married couples.

While the campaign was under way, gay rights supporters sought access to the petitions under Washington's open records law. Protect Marriage Washington, the group that organized opposition to the law, objected, saying its members would be harassed if their names were made public.

The Supreme Court stepped in and blocked release of the names before the vote. The justices later intervened in another case in which gay rights opponents complained about potential harassment. The court's conservative majority prevented broadcast of the trial on California's ban on same-sex marriage.

Justices agreed intimidation is unacceptable. Justice John Paul Stevens, listening to his final arguments before retiring later this summer, questioned whether Washington state voters had an interest in finding out petitioners' names and home addresses simply so they can argue "and change their minds."

But Justice Samuel Alito questioned Washington's attorney general, Robert McKenna, on whether his office was willing to give out the home address of its lawyers so people could show up and have "uncomfortable conversations" with them after-hours.

McKenna said office addresses and telephone numbers of his lawyers were public.

The Associated Press is among 22 news organizations and media trade associations that filed a brief in the case supporting public disclosure of the documents.

The case is Doe v. Reed, 09-559.

Source: AP

 

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