Sign a Petition, Get Posted to a Witchhunt

Filed under:Church of Liberalism,Jerks,Wacky Oregon — posted by Anwyn on August 23, 2007 @ 8:35 pm

Perusing today’s articles linked in Oregon Reddit produced this little gem: a plan to post to the web the names and addresses of anybody signing petitions that run counter to the homosexual lobby’s agenda.

In addition to holding petition signers accountable, Stewart explains the underlying idea behind the project’s name, Know Thy Neighbor. “To me, it’s important as a queer woman to be able to look up people and see, are the people in my neighborhood on this petition? Are there people in my zip code on this?” she says. Finding out that people she knows—like friends or coworkers or even a boss or local business owner—signed the petition is valuable information, “if for no other reason than protection.”

“If” for no other reason? Do tell, what could be the other reasons? Leaving aside the laughable premise that people who oppose gay marriage, by definition, wish, and will perpetrate, harm on gay people, that is.

Privacy for me, but not for thee if you oppose me. Where have I heard that before?


  1. Laughable is something that you actually said: “the homosexual lobby’s agenda”

    The agenda? Protecting Oregon families? Something conservatives have yet to find a way to do. There is no reason that my committed partner and I of 12 years should not be able to make end of life decisions, inherit each other’s estate or be able to visit one another in the hospital-God forbid that should happen.

    Let’s get real now. Although Oregon’s Domestic Partnership law falls well short of marriage, I think we can all agree that it is time that all Oregon families can protect one another in times of crisis.

    Comment by Jenn Stewart — August 23, 2007 @ 10:59 pm

  2. The agenda? Protecting Oregon families? Something conservatives have yet to find a way to do. There is no reason that my committed partner and I of 12 years should not be able to make end of life decisions, inherit each other’s estate or be able to visit one another in the hospital-God forbid that should happen.

    Mmhmm. Now please explain how publishing the home information of people who sign a petition against what you want helps you achieve that. It doesn’t–although I’m sure threatening to might have an effect on the number of signatures those petitions collect in the first place.

    Comment by Anwyn — August 24, 2007 @ 7:26 am

  3. Boy, I wish I could figure out TrackBacks…

    Anyway, I doubt that protection from physical harm is the true driving force behind this initiative (regardless of the stated reason). “Hate crimes” against the homosexual community do occur, but I don’t think that anyone who opposes these laws should be on a watch list or should be considered dangerous. They merely have an opposing viewpoint. Some may be dangerous, but that is the equivalent of spying on all people of Middle Eastern ancestry because they could be terrorists…

    The likely intent, as intimated by Anwyn, is to “shame” people away from signing the petition (and I think it may work). In our PC society, few people want to be seen as anti-anything. If you have a conviction opposing these laws, sign the petition and send them your name and address to be added to the list. If you’re too ashamed to have your name published as a “signer,” what kind of a conviction is that anyway?

    BTW, I fall on the side of the publishers in this political argument. I just don’t buy into their stated goal…

    Comment by ChuckFoxtrot — August 24, 2007 @ 10:43 am

  4. Hi Chuck. Trackbacks are as follows: Go to the page in your WP control panel where you can edit the post you want to trackback to this one. Then take the URL of *this single post* from my blog ( and paste it into the “Trackback” window down below the writing window. Then save your post again.

    I’m a little surprised it didn’t trackback automatically–frequently WP blogs will do that for one another, but it may be a function of your particular theme, or the version of WP–I’m not versed enough to know.

    There’s a difference between being “ashamed” to have your *name* publicly attached to the position and being “concerned” as to what kind of objective a group opposed to your signing might have in posting your *address.* Granted if you’re published in the phone book, one’s just as good as the other, but it smacks of putting a target over people solely because you don’t like them–something gay people don’t like any more than anybody else when it’s done to them.

    Given that we both don’t buy the stated reason, it’s reasonable to wonder what the reason is and for me to continue to oppose their projected action.

    Comment by Anwyn — August 24, 2007 @ 10:53 am

  5. Chuck, Anwyn:

    The automatic WP to WP pinging only happens if you have it turned on. The setting can be found from the Dashboard under “options” -> “discussions” -> “Attempt to notify any Weblogs linked to from the article”. If memory serves (and it might not), I think this is unchecked by default.

    One can also embed a trackback URL in an individual post in the “Trackbacks” -> “Send trackbacks to:” field by copying and pasting the URL from a target blog post.

    On topic: Seems to me that publishing the names of petition signers isn’t necessarily going to “shame” them at all. Presumably one signs a petition because one feels an issue is important enough to be brought to a vote by referendum. Merely signing a petition does not, however, directly indicate one’s vote on the matter. There’s a strong correlation of course, but in the end, the ballot is still a secret one.

    Now you might say, “Norm, that’s hogwash. If a person signs a petition, you can be sure they’ll vote for the thing if it comes up on the ballot.” I’d agree in the main. So you’ll excuse me if I apply the same level of disbelief over the stated objectives of those who would go out of their way to publish the names and addresses of those who sign this petition. Let’s hope it ends at mere “shame” before signing and doesn’t become intimidation or harassment after signing.

    The first is perfectly legal (although morally ambiguous at best); the latter is clearly not legal. To see this clearly, just reverse the players and pretend that this was a pro-domestic partnership initiative. Whose names would be published? And how would that be received?

    Comment by Norm — August 24, 2007 @ 2:53 pm

  6. Sounds almost like a gateway drug. Weed leads to harder stuff. So, “I want to know who didn’t sign my petition” could begin the path to “I want to know who voted against my candidate.” It seems possible with elctronic voting and California judges: court-ordered revelations of secret ballots when a fring group loses an election. ANY fring group, left or right.

    Comment by Chuck Bell — August 24, 2007 @ 3:43 pm

  7. Public actions deserve privacy protection?…

    There is an interesting bit of political expression underway in Oregon. A “group of grassroots activists” are preparing to publish the names and addresses of people who sign a petition to overturn a law that establishes a Domestic Partners…

    Trackback by WTF CF? — August 29, 2007 @ 5:16 am

  8. People have a right to know who their would-be anonymous attackers are.

    Please don’t pretend it’s gay people and our allies who have a history of physically attacking the bodies and property of homophobes and “Christians”, not the other way around.

    If someone is going to try to make other people into second class citizens, I think they should at least make themselves known. I am curious to know who the people are who would sign that and to have them know I know. Obviously nothing physical is going to happen (well, nothing instigated by our side at least), but people should be held accountable for their public political actions. If you act all nicey nice to your gay neighbors or relatives and then sign this petition for an anti-gay ballot measure, you deserve to be put in a situation where you might feel like hanging your head in shame in front of them. Rather than being able to act all innocent and smiley while secretly working to take away their rights as citizens.

    Comment by Tom Soppe — December 27, 2007 @ 2:42 pm

  9. Being against gay marriage, or even signing a petition against it, is not evidence of a disposition to physically attack gay people.

    If I had signed this petition (I didn’t) I would not need to hang my head in shame in front of any reasonable, debate-capable gay person. We’d have a talk about the pros and cons of gay marriage and probably neither one of us would convince the other, but my imaginary, reasonable, debate-capable gay person certainly would not start from the whopper of a straw-man that people against gay marriage are in favor of harming gay people.

    Comment by Anwyn — December 27, 2007 @ 3:11 pm

  10. Anwyn,

    Just because you can come across as “reasonable” because you can “debate” about the pros and “cons” of equality doesn’t mean you aren’t a bigot who doesn’t have something to be ashamed of. And your nicey-niceness to your gay neighbor or whoever doesn’t erase this bad karma on your part either, if you oppose gay equality, as I was explaining in the other post.

    And I actually never said (if you read the above post in a “reasonable, debate-capable” way) that all people who oppose equality are in favor of violence. (Although I could make the case that those people are the company you keep.) I did say the anti-equality people have much more of a history of committing violence against gay people, than gay people have of committing violence against anti-equality people. I don’t think an intellectually honest person can disagree with that. That’s perhaps why you didn’t disagree with that, you simply pretended I was saying something else.

    Comment by Tom Soppe — January 23, 2008 @ 2:28 pm

  11. Tom, part of your comment was about wanting to know who (and their addresses and phone numbers) signs the petition just because you think that makes them bigots (it doesn’t). But you led off with “would-be anonymous attackers” … and implied later in the comment that hell, why not throw in the possibility of physical violence too.

    I was actually imparting a better motive to you than what you had–if people actually were about to physically attack you based on their signing this petition, it would make more sense to want to know who they were. But no, you just want to know so you can think hate-beams at them because they’re “bigots.” Fine, I misstated your position–it’s actually worse than I thought it was.

    As for acting “nicey-nice,” exactly how would you prefer people act? Isn’t behaving in a civil manner, and being nice to people even if you don’t necessarily approve of everything they do, the very essence of tolerance? Ah, I forgot, “tolerance” means rooting every thought out of people’s heads and feelings out of their hearts, dragging their motives into the light of day so that you can feel justified in hating them. And, lest we forget, reconditioning them to approved thought and feeling modes. Good luck, buddy.

    Comment by Anwyn — January 23, 2008 @ 4:18 pm

  12. I do prefer that even bigots act nice, I just get tired of conservatives wanting to be congratulated for being nicey-nice to gay people’s faces while taking away their rights legally (as if we deserve this), because this is two faced. Just stop fighting against our rights- this is the wrong part. And if you are currently fighting against our equality, at least admit it. That is what the publishing of the signatures would do.

    And no amount of bragging by conservatives about how “nice” they are to their gay neighbors or what have you takes away from how wrong there anti-gay activism is, even though these conservatives seem to want to have it both ways. And before you accuse me of it, no I’m not wanting to take away their right to be an anti-gay activist (the free speech argument always being the false refuge of conservatives arguing with those criticizing bigots). I just want some accountability for their actions, which deliberately affect public policy regarding whether I am treated as a first class citizen.

    As for the rest of your last paragraph, you would seem more self-aware if you didn’t pretend that it was our side doing the social engineering. We just want everyone to be equal under the law, and we are not taking away your right to voice your opinion otherwise (unlike the anti-gay side with their desire to control discussions about the matter in Oregon schools, etc., think Measure 9 the 2000 version). You are the ones trying to pass laws to engineer people to marry this person and not that person, etc.

    And once again, you (projectionistically?) accuse me of for wanting people to be exposed for their anti-civil rights actions and the hypocrisy they often show to their gay neighbors that they are “nice” to. So wanting to root out bigotry so we can have a more honest discussion about it is hatred? Wanting to call it bigotry, when thin-skinned conservatives in denial don’t want me to call it bigotry, is hatred? Oh, that’s right, you couldn’t so easily dismiss everything our side is saying if you didn’t come up with easy excuses to call our arguments “hatred”. And to therefore dismiss us as some kind of hypocrites when we complain about the real anti-gay hatred that comes from so many people on the conservative side. And to therefore condescendingly act like I’m the one with a problem relating to other people when you are the one who is so uncomfortable and prejudiced against people different than you that you have to support unfair laws against them.

    It just seems like another way to come up with excuses to forgo accountability for conservative wrongs against gays and others.

    Comment by Tom Soppe — March 13, 2008 @ 9:07 am

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