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Domestic partners petition names shielded for now

WEDNESDAY, AUG. 11, 2010, 11:07 A.M.

TACOMA — Signed petitions calling for a public vote on expanded domestic partnerships for gay couples will remain shielded from public view while a federal judge hears new arguments on whether to block them for good.

U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle today extended a restraining order that bars public release of the signatures while the case moves forward.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that generally, the release of petition signatures does not violate constitutional rights. However, the court said Protect Marriage Washington could go back to the lower courts and try to prove the release of the names of people who signed Referendum 71 would put them in danger. The referendum was approved last fall by voters.

A date has not yet been set for any hearings in the case.

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