Court Watch - POSTED: 2009/10/16 00:06
Washington's secretary of state can release the names and addresses of people who signed petitions calling for a public vote on the state's expanded benefits for domestic partners, a federal appeals court said Thursday.
A panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a previous decision by U.S. District Judge Ben Settle in Tacoma to block release of the petitions.
Settle held that releasing the names could chill the First Amendment rights of petition signers.
Stephen Pidgeon, an attorney for the petition sponsors, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Despite the appeals court ruling, the names weren't immediately released.
Janelle Guthrie, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Rob McKenna, said her office must now ask a Thurston County judge to lift a temporary restraining order issued Wednesday forbidding the release of the petitions until the 9th Circuit could rule.