The LA Times has a good article about this, explaining that:
The Supreme Court voted last week to block release of the names of more than 138,000 people in Washington state who signed petitions seeking to repeal a same-sex domestic partner law in a ballot scheduled for Nov. 3.
But there's a group called Know Thy Neighbor and their idea is that by publishing the names of voters who signed petitions against gay rights in Arkansas, Florida, Massachusetts, and Oregon,
Anti-gay marriage activists and supporters lost their veil of anonymity. KnowThyNeighbor.org believes that citizens who sponsor an amendment to take people's rights should never be allowed to do so under the cover of darkness.
And I think they have a point. The KKK was able to survive for so long in some part due to the anonymity of the participants.
If their actual faces had been photographed, and their wives and children could see them proudly standing by the victims they had just lynched, would they have acted with such impunity? I don't think so.
And perhaps, people assuming that their signature on a ballot, their donation to a cause they believe in, is private is a systemic way of allowing people to be their worst selves. If the whole thing was more transparent, would people hesitate before trying to take away other's rights?
And yet, we cherish the privacy of our votes in the voting booth. The privacy of the secret ballot is a cornerstone of our democracy.
And what about the L.A. El Coyote restaurant manager and daughter of the owner who gave $100.- of her personal money to fight gay marriage in California and then had her restaurant, usually filled with gay customers, boycotted? Would she have had the $100.- to donate if not for the gay customers in the first place? Should they have the right to know about her donation? What about the gay employees of the restaurant? Do they have a right to know about their boss' anti-gay donation? Is it fair to the employees that the restaurant's business has suffered since the disclosure?
How can we, as a community, reconcile our desire to expose hate to the light to eliminate it, and still respect the privacy of the individual?
Talk about it with your Gay Straight Alliance Club. Where do you draw the line?
Of course, you're welcome to join in the discussion here at our virtual GSA, in comments.