The Washington Bladeās decision to publish the names of the more than 100,000 Marylanders who signed the petition that prompted the stateās same-sex marriage referendum sparked outrage among opponents of nuptials for gays and lesbians.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins described this newspaperās decision to publish the names of those who signed the petition as ānothing short of intimidation.ā Matt Barber, vice president of Liberty Action Counsel, accused the Blade of āhomo terrorism.ā The Blade also received threatening phone calls and e-mails after it published the names on its website on July 12.
Maryland Gov. Martin OāMalley told the Blade last month when asked about the controversy that he didnāt know whether āIām qualified to comment on journalistic ethics.ā Transgender activist Dana Beyer also questioned the Bladeās decision to publish the names of those who signed the petition that were publicly available on July 12, but gay columnist Andrew Sullivan defended the Blade.
āSome argue that this is a tool for intimidation or a violation of privacy,ā he wrote. āIām afraid I cannot see that. Signing a political petition is a public act. If you are ashamed of trying to deny your fellow citizens their civil rights, you probably shouldnāt have signed the petition in the first place.ā
Opponents of the same-sex marriage law eventually collected more than 160,000 signatures that prompted a Nov. 6 referendum on the issue. Maryland voters upheld the statute that OāMalley signed in March by a 52-48 percent margin.