Alright, folks, I’m kind of pissed about some news I read this morning, because it goes against everything that I stand for.
Here’s some background. In Washington state, all those (anti-gay) pro-marriage groups have been collecting signatures to support Referendum 71, which would repeal a new law that gives same-sex couples marriage-like benefits. Understand, we’re not talking about same-sex marriage or even civil unions, but domestic partnerships with marriage-like benefits. And here’s the kicker, those benefits do not take effect while these signatures are being counted and verified.
Now, there has been a lot of alleged fraud already. If you’d like to see some signature collecting fraud, there’s even some on video. So far, a little over 10% of the signatures have been invalidated. Check out Pam’s House Blend for a running update. Now that you know the scoop, here’s the news that has me really upset.
Apparently this isn’t new news, but I don’t know how I missed it. According to the Seattle Times (7/29/09):
U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle this afternoon granted a temporary restraining order requested by Protect Washington Families to stop the Secretary of State’s Office from making the signers’ names public.
This to me, just seems fundamentally wrong. If you are signing your name to something, you are assuming full risk. It’s a fundamental concept of democracy and freedom of speech. It only counts when you stand up for what you believe in. If you aren’t willing to stand up, then your vote doesn’t count. Decisions are made by the people who show up.
So why then, do these supposed 137,689 signers (now down to 132,547) get to have their voices heard and counted without taking responsibility for their views? And why do these people need such undemocratic protections? According to the judge:
[T]hey “have sufficiently demonstrated a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits” of their First Amendment claim, and “a reasonable likelihood of irreparable harm if the names are released.”
This is a good first step towards interrupting the un-American campaign of harassment and intimidation by gay rights supporters and protecting the civil rights of all Americans to peacefully participate in the political process without fear.
Let’s say you, my dear reader, are an American citizen in the state of Washington. You hate gay people, and you fervently believe that they are tearing apart the fabric of society and corrupting your chance at salvation. You decide to add your signature to make sure that they get no protections for the ones they love. But then, UH OH, you realize that all those gay people might actually have a problem with your point of view, and you don’t want to have to answer to them. So you cry and whine that you are the one who is getting harrassed and intimidated, so yay for you, you get to have your cake and eat it too.
You know what I say? Tough shit. If you can’t take the heat, get out of the oven. If you want to be protected as American citizens, then how about all 132, 547 of you (that might still be valid) show your full birth certificates so we know that you are entitled to this so called “protection”? Shove off. Speaking out is a risk and you either take it or you don’t.
How many gay people have lost friends just for being open about who they are? How many have lost their homes and their families? How many have lost their jobs? How many have been shunned, harassed, excommunicated, and discriminated against? How many have had to watch their loved ones die from the waiting room? How many have been arrested, beaten, and even killed for being who they are, let alone standing up for what they believe in?
We take a huge risk just in admitting who we are and attempting to find peace within ourselves. We sacrifice a whole lot just to try to find an ounce of sincere happiness in our lives. And some of us have the courage to stand up and say that discrimination is unacceptable. Some of us have the courage to put their lives on the line because they know it’s their lives they have to fight for.
And then come along NOM and these other fussies who are really quite aggressive in their pursuit. And they wave from their protected temple of religious privilege and say, “We’re going to shun you and you don’t even get to see who we are!” Heck, given the fraud that’s already been documented, we have no way of knowing if they don’t have people on the inside continuing to skew the count. As long as those names are “protected,” we have no way of knowing.
This is tyranny of the oppressed right here on our home soil. We can’t even advocate for ourselves because the people trying to repeal our rights and protections don’t even have to show themselves.
It’s just wrong.