The Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund today launched a free phone hotline and website to gather accounts of threats or other harassment of people gathering signatures for Referendum 71. The ballot measure asks voters to throw out a new law granting state-registered domestic partners, including same-sex couples, most of the same rights as spouses under state law.
“If you have been threatened or suffered retaliation after signing an R-71 petition, or someone prevented you from signing an R-71 petition, please tell us what happened,” the website says, urging people to fill out a “legal intervention request form.”
“Washington voters shouldn’t have to choose between being involved in the democratic process and opening themselves up to possible acts of retaliation as a result of having their personal information posted on the Web,” ADF senior counsel Gary McCaleb said in a press release announcing the hotline and website.
The group maintains that the new law makes marriage and domestic partnerships “effectively the same except in name,” a premise that legislative proponents deny.
The ADF’s move is partly in response to whosigned.org, a group that’s vowing to publicize the names of anyone who signs the petitions to put the measure on the fall ballot. Opponents are also running a “decline to sign” online pledge in hopes of preventing social conservatives from getting the roughly 150,000 signatures they’ll need to trigger a statewide vote.