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April 28, 2010

USSC Hears Argument Today in Doe v Reed

The US Supreme Court heard argument today in a case in which GLAD and other LGBT legal groups filed a brief disputing false claims of harassment and defending open government requirements.

In the case, Doe v Reed, anti-gay groups present the false claim that they have been subjected to “systematic intimidation” by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (“LGBT”) community.  Anti-gay groups that placed a measure on the ballot to keep Washington State’s comprehensive domestic partnership law from going into effect are seeking to prevent the state of Washington from disclosing the names of voters who sign petitions supporting state ballot initiatives.

Three of the nation’s leading LGBT legal organizations, Lambda Legal, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) – together with the Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force – have filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, vigorously and thoroughly refuting the false claims presented to the Court in this and other cases.

Some of the instances of supposed “intimidation” cited by opponents and noted in the amicus brief include:

A country club member in California, a supporter of Proposition 8, noted that “the openly gay members of the country club have changed their attitudes toward me.  They used to greet me warmly; now, they give me looks of disdain and do not greet me as I pass.”

A person with a yard sign supporting Proposition 8 was disturbed on Halloween that some people “pointed and whispered to one another in disapproval” during trick-or-treating.

A woman was upset that her brother, who is gay, would no longer speak to her after she told him she might vote for Proposition 8.

As the amicus brief says, these complaints “are not only trivial, they reflect a fundamental refusal to accept the legitimacy of speech that disagrees with the complainants’ viewpoints, deeming it ‘hateful’ or ‘harassing’ simply because they do not like hearing it.”

Read more

Audio: GLAD Legal Director Gary Buseck on Disputing the Right’s False Claims of Intimidation by the LGBT Community