As a ballot initiative effort is set to launch in Washington State that could rescind marriage rights there, a gay Seattle man is personally reaching out to past opponents of LGBT equality.
Paul Thomasson is taking advantage of a Supreme Court decision that allows the identities of petition signers to be released to the public. Thomasson is combing through the records for R-71, a failed initiative attempt to overturn the state's domestic partnership law, so he can find out who supported it. In hopes of changing these individuals' minds about R-74, this year's initiative to overturn marriage equality in Washington, Thomasson emailed about 2,000 supporters of R-71.
"I can't know what motivated you to sign the petition for R-71, but I sincerely hope and pray that you will not sign the petition for R-74," he wrote.
While many R-71 supporters said they did not want their identities released because of fear they would be harassed, Thomasson's emails have been the only known contact to the petition signers. By all accounts, Thomasson's email is not threatening; instead he's trying a gentle tactic of persuasion.
"People are basically good and tolerant," Thomasson tells The Seattle Times. "My intent was to let them know there's an actual human being affected by their decision."
Thomasson, who identifies as Republican, was kicked out of the Navy during "don't ask, don't tell" and now works in human resources at Boeing. Read more here.