Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Who's A Homophobe?

Did you sign a petition to get a gay-marriage amendment on the ballot in FL or MA? If so your friends and neighbors can find you via

A bit more from Brendan McLaughlin:
Type in your county and street and you can find out in a second which, if any of your neighbors believe they can protect heterosexual unions by forbidding committed gay couples from enjoying the legal and societal benefits of marriage. Never mind that gay marriage is already illegal under Florida law. You can search by name, too, which has allowed inquiring minds to find out which public officials have signed the petition.

Supporters of the amendment accuse KnowThyNeighbor.Org of intimidation. Not an unfair claim if you believe that the confidentiality of one's vote contributes to a healthy democracy. But signing a petition on an issue of public policy is not the same as pulling the lever against Saddam Hussein or Fidel Castro. Signing your name in the middle of a crowded parking lot does imply a public show of support for the issue at hand.

One reason the benefits of transparency in these matters may outweigh the drawbacks is fraud. It's not unheard of for paid signature gatherers to misrepresent what the petition actually calls for. One freelance signature gatherer in Massachusetts admitted to lying... telling voters they were signing a petition to allow the sale of wine at grocery stores statewide, when in fact they were signing a petition banning gay marriage.