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LEGISLATORS DEMANDING PRIVACY WOULD BE LAUGHED OUT OF COURT

The Secretary of State's Office is spot-on in its assertion that voters act in substitution for state legislators when sponsoring or signing initiative and referendum petitions. Why should they get a privilege state legislators don't? If Washington legislators sued in federal court for a First Amendment right to conceal, from the public, their votes on all legislation, there would be public outrage and they'd be laughed out of court.

If the Supreme Court holds a constitutional right to withhold the names and addresses of signers from publication, it will only be the beginning. Within 10 years, the Supreme Court will rule there's a First Amendment to withhold from publication the names and addresses of all contributors to local, state, and federal campaigns for public office and ballot issues. There is neither absolute rights under the First Amendment nor privacy, and there's a compelling state interest in letting voters know who's promoting ballot issues and donating money to political campaigns.

Steven L. Kendall



SEATTLEOUTPROTEST DEBATES PRIDE PARADE THEME


To the Board of Seattle Out and Proud (SOAP),

SeattleOUTprotest Coalition recently learned that your proposed theme for this year's Seattle Pride Parade is "We Are All Americans."

We strongly urge you to change the theme to one that truly reflects the many nationalities and incredible diversity in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community. It is still early in the year and there is time to remedy what we assume was an unintentional blunder. Perhaps you meant to convey inclusivity, but unfortunately the effect is just the opposite.

When our coalition discussed the theme we had two major concerns. First, we feel the current theme is a slap in the face to the many immigrants in our Queer community, which includes members of SeattleOUTprotest Coalition. It is especially insensitive to use such language now when similar-sounding slogans are being used by rightwing hatemongers, such as the Minutemen, who are actively organizing in this state against civil rights for immigrants. Not coincidentally, the Minutemen and other xenophobic organizations with which they are affiliated also gathered signatures to put Referendum 71 on the ballot and campaigned against domestic partnership.

Finally, the fight for Queer equality has spread like wildfire across the globe. Rather than celebrating the many international victories, "We Are All Americans" comes off as arrogant and nationalistic, especially given that Queers in the U.S. remain second-class citizens. By contrast, same-sex marriage is already a reality for our neighbors to the north and was legalized in Mexico City just this month. Perhaps you could consider "Viva Equality" as a theme choice.

We urge you to pick a slogan that will unite, not divide, our community, so that we can move ahead on planning a truly fabulous and inclusive parade. We look forward to your response.

SeattleOUTprotest Coalition

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