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Supreme Court to Decide on Anti Gay Marriage Petition

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By Minara El-Rahman on January 20, 2010 10:05 AM

The Supreme Court will decide on the constitutionality of releasing names off of an anti gay marriage petition. Business Week reports that the Supreme Court will be reviewing the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals' decision that allowed Washington state officials to reveal the identities of 138,000 signers of a petition that was against gay marriage. The names were blocked from publication by the Supreme Court until the case could be heard. Under Washington law, the names are considered public record.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the case centers around the group Protect Marriage Washington's efforts to block a law that granted gay couples more legal rights. The group claims that disclosure of the names on their petition could lead to harassment by gay rights activists. This is similar to an argument made to the Supreme Court to block transmission of coverage of the current Prop 8 trial in San Francisco. 

As we wrote in Findlaw's Decided Blog, the Supreme Court decided to end plans to records and broadcast the Prop 8 trial on YouTube. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court found that the courts below had not followed proper procedure for allowing the recording and broadcast of a federal trial.

This current case, Doe v. Reed, is now on the docket for the Supreme Court to decide. Though this case does not focus on how federal courts are run (unlike the Prp 8 cameras decision), it does focus on the tension between privacy and participation in public processes.

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