Wednesday, October 21, 2009

News roundup reports that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has temporarily blocked Washington state from releasing the names of people who signed a petition in support of a state ballot referendum that would limit domestic partnership rights. Proponents of the anti-domestic partnership measure say that Washington state officials have a long-standing practice of keeping confidential the identities of those who sign referendum petitions, and that releasing the names could discourage people from exercising their right to free speech. LGBT equality supporters and open-government groups say that the public has a legal right to know who is behind the referendum.

Tulsa World reports that 23-year-old Brandon Patrick hopes to change Oklahoma’s hate crimes law to include crimes based on sexual orientation. The Tulsa resident went to the hospital on Sunday night after a man and two women attacked him with a knife, punched him and bit him while he was trying to walk to a friend’s house around midnight. They preceded the attack with homophobic slurs and threats. Since Oklahoma doesn’t recognize hate crimes related to sexual orientation, police are investigating the case only as an assault and battery.

Maine is preparing for a popular vote on marriage equality in less than two weeks. According to, the latest poll shows voters evenly split—48 percent for marriage equality for same-sex couples and 48 percent against it, with four percent undecided and a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percent. Earlier this year, Maine’s legislature passed a law recognizing same-sex marriages, but religious groups petitioned to delay enactment of the law until voters were given an opportunity to approve or repeal it.

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