Anti-Gay Petitions Circulating in Washington State Have Finally Surfaced to the Anger of Gay Community. Secretary of State's Office Goes on Record Defending the State's Policy of Allowing "Lies" and Deception To Be Printed on Actual Petition Sheets
You are reading this correctly. Thanks to our friends over at The Stranger for their in depth reporting on Referendum 71, the ballot initiative that would repeal Washington's expanded Domestic Partnership Law, LGBT are getting probably the clearest look to date of a corrupt system that has had great successes nationwide in stripping rights away from and hurting countless families.
Voter deception, fraud and bait and switch run rampant in signature collection for ballot initiatives. Usually petition sponsors pass that liability onto "paid signature gathering firms" such as now are being used to collect signatures for the Anti-Gay Referendum in Maine and had been in Massachusetts back in 2005 where any charges of mis-conduct can easily be brushed off as the sponsor's inability to control "the sub-contracted labor's sub-contracted labor" hired to collect signatures. But Washington is the first state that these lies clearly meant to deceive are allowed by law to be printed on the actual petition sheets. David Ammons, the Washington Secretary of State's spokesman told The Stranger, "The state supreme court has said you can lie in campaign utterances and campaign materials. We have no jurisdiction over extra words and sales pitches that sponsors choose to put in petitions."
"Extra words and sales pitches," I guess, is "Olympia Nice" for voter fraud. A ballot initiative intending to reverse Domestic Partnership Protection in Washington being sold to voters as a referendum to "protect marriage as between one man and one woman," especially since in Washington same-sex marriage is illegal, is clearly fraud. And so is the other "highlight" of Ref 71, "If same-sex marriage becomes law, public schools K-12 will be forced to teach that same-sex marriage and homosexuality are normal...even over the objections of parents. Sign R-71 to protect children." Look to the full report on The Stranger for photos and breakdown.
So where is the outrage from the LGBT community? We may not see any from the leadership at Equality Washington as this campaign to protect LGBT families was described to me as intended to be a quiet one, meant not to upset the Washingtonians who are "nice on the outside" but on the inside allegedly much different. KnowThyNeighbor.org has never experienced systemic criticisms this severe for daring to suggest that signing a public petition which would take away rights from and hurt families comes with a "social responsibility" of ownership of that act. Those criticisms stemmed not only from a clearly fore-warned Josh Friedes of Equality Washington but from members of the press as well as the Secretary of State's office. One journalist actually told me emphatically that it was my job to talk to people about gay and lesbian headed families, however, it was not my job to educate voters on the initiative petition process. Steve Excell, the Assistant Secretary of State for Washington, in a telephone conversation told me that the SOS has no intention of pursuing a lawsuit against KnowThyNeighbor.org for posting the names of Ref 71 signers as it is common practice for political parties and special interest groups to request and receive the same information. However, KTN's strategy "does not work well in (our) state even though it works elsewhere." Excell said and that he does not want Washington voters "to be embarrassed" by finding their names on our website. "Embarrassed??" such as those Washingtonians who find themselves for whatever reason in hard times and unable to pay their taxes and can be seen on this state website?
Washington voters should be embarrassed to put their names on Referendum 71 for two reasons. First and most importantly because Referendum hurts families, there is no debating that fact, but secondly because Ref 71 is the child of a system that allows for Washington voters to be misled, lied to, and outright deceived--legally. Washington voters should be equally outraged as well as should the gay community that neither state legislators nor Equality Washington have protected voters by reforming Washington's initiative process. The Secretary of State's Office told KnowThyNeighbor.org that we are not welcome because it wants to insure the "integrity and protect the initiative process." A few days later Josh Friedes of Equality Washington cautioned us about criticizing the lies on the Ref 71 petition sheet as he put it, "many Progressives (in this state) use the petition system too..." You draw the conclusion.
One thing is for sure now that this overtly demonstrative anti-gay petition sheet surfaced spewing its lies in bold print before Washington voters, that the dynamic of signers has changed. No one signing this gets a pass anymore because he or she "just wants to put every petition before the voters" or that they did not understand the intent of Referendum 71. So much for "integrity" Mr. Secretary.
Tom Lang, Director