U.S. Supreme Court seals names of R-71 petitioners

Supreme CourtIn a rare move, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld an order preventing Washington State from releasing the names of more than 120,000 people who signed petitions seeking a voter referendum on whether to give same-sex couples most of the same rights as married couples.

The cerendum 71 on the November ballot should continue to be sealed until the court decides whether it will hear an appeal in the case — a process that could take up to a year, reports the Seattle Times.

The 8-to-1 decision by the high court continues an order issued Monday by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who had temporarily blocked a ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordering release of the names. Justice John Paul Stevens voted to uphold the appeals court ruling, releasing the names.

Protect Marriage Washington had sued the state of Washington to block release of Ref. 71 petition signers’ names, saying to make the names public would chill signers’ First Amendment free-speech rights.

The Supreme Court said its order will remain in effect while the court considers filings from both sides to reach a decision about whether to take up Protect Marriage’s request to reverse the appeals court ruling — a process that could take up to a year..

More from the Seattle Times.

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