If you’ve been reading my blog over the past few months you saw me get pissed that the signatures for Washington’s Referendum 71, putting domestic partner benefits up for a vote, were not going to be released (“Anonymous People Don’t Get Free Speech (Ref. 71)“).
Then, I delighted in hearing that the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission had decided that the donor information would not be exempt from public disclosure (“Washington State Keeps Public Speech Public (Ref. 71)“).
Then, I unabashedly accused U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle of being a fascist for a ruling again “protecting” the signatures from being released (“Right To Secretly Create Legal Discrimination Preserved (Ref. 71)“).
Now, finally, it seems justice has been restored. According to The Seattle Times:
Washington’s secretary of state can release the names and addresses of people who signed petitions calling for a public vote on the state’s expanded benefits for domestic partners, a federal appeals court said today.
A panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a previous decision by U.S. District Judge Ben Settle in Tacoma to block release of the petitions.
This is great news. I don’t think I need to reiterate all my arguments on this issue. I’m just relieved to see that transparency is being returned to the legislative process regarding this important issue.
“These petitions are not like a secret ballot, but amount to taking part in our legislative process, which is required to be open and accountable,” Secretary of State Sam Reed said.
Right on. And what was it that influenced the appeals panel to make this decision?
In its brief order, the three-judge appeals panel said Settle used the wrong legal standard in granting the preliminary injunction that barred release of the petitions, and that the injunction therefore must be reversed.
I love it. They didn’t say they disagreed with Settle; they said he was wrong.