The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA) has a clear-eyed editorial up about WhoSigned.org‘s announcement that they will post an online database of the names of people who sign Referendum 71, if the referendum gets certified by the Secretary of State. Referendum 71 seeks to repeal Washington’s new domestic partnership expansion law. While I find public policy merit in making those names publicly available and I do not believe that the proposed website intends to invite harassment, it’s not surprising that the idea was not well received. As a pragmatist, I thus find myself agreeing pretty strongly with the editorial. I think their closing remarks say it all.
We agree that signers should have no expectation of privacy, but the Web site could invite harassment and confrontation. It could also discourage people from engaging the issue to begin with.
While the Web site publishers are right about gay rights, they risk turning this issue into a referendum about their tactics. And that could spell long-term trouble.
I encourage everyone to read the whole editorial, then come back and take the poll and drop your thoughts in the comments.