Doe v. Reed

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Status: Closed
Court:
Supreme Court of the United States

Lambda Legal, along with Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the State of Washington and others filed an amicus brief in defending open government laws requiring public disclosure of the names of voters who sign petitions supporting state ballot initiatives. In particular, this brief refutes the false claims presented to the Supreme Court in this and other cases that individuals who support anti-gay initiatives have been subjected to "systematic intimidation" by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

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In Doe v. Reed, anti-gay groups are asking the Supreme Court to overturn a decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordering the release of the names of 138,000 people who signed petitions supporting a ballot initiative to repeal basic protections for same-sex couples in Washington State. In November 2009, Washington voters rejected this attempt – Referendum 71 - and preserved the state's domestic partnership law. Under Washington's Public Records Act, the signatures on referendum petitions are public in order to prevent fraud and protect the integrity of the lawmaking process. The anti-gay groups are seeking to strike down Washington's law, claiming that supporters of anti-gay ballot campaigns would be exposed to harassment and intimidation by the LGBT community if their names were made public.

The amicus brief submitted by the LGBT legal groups argues that it is the lesbian and gay community, not its opponents, that continues to suffer serious violence, harassment, and discrimination, along with a 30-year barrage of ballot petitions aimed at stripping LGBT people and other minority groups of basic protections. The brief also attacks the notion of an alleged organized campaign of harassment and intimidation against supporters of ant-gay ballot initiatives, calling into question legal statements and press accounts cited by anti-gay groups (details available at www.glad.org/doe-v-reed).