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R-71 Heads to Court -- Again

Washington state attorney general Rob McKenna successfully appealed a federal judge's ruling that granted an injunction to keep the names of people who signed a petition to put Referendum 71 on the ballot private, reports the Associated Press.

The petitions are considered public records under state law, but R-71's sponsors claim petition-signers could face harassment if the names are released.

Meanwhile, opponents to R-71 claim that Secretary of State Sam Reed improperly accepted thousands of petition signatures and want the names disclosed.

The 9th U.S. circuit court of appeals has scheduled a hearing on the issue for October 14 in Pasadena, Calif.

Earlier this month U.S. district judge Benjamin Settle ruled to keep the names private, but McKenna successfully argued that to do so would violate Washington's open-government laws.

R-71, which will appear on the November 3 ballot, asks voters whether to affirm or repeal the legislatively passed expansion of the state's domestic-partnership rights that Gov. Christine Gregoire signed into law in May.
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