Gary Randall of Protect Marriage Washington, the group trying to overturn marriage equality in Washington state with Referendum 74, is not pleased that activist Paul Thomasson is reaching out to individuals who signed Referendum 71 in 2009. In a rant at the Faith & Freedom Network, Randall calls Thomasson a “hard core homosexual activist” and threatens equality opponents not to respond because Thomasson will reveal their identities:
He is posting every response on his website and now with KOMO reporting on it, more people will be directed to the site. I would suggest you not respond to him, however if you do, please know that your comments and probably your name will be further publicized to his readers. KOMO proudly reports, “Thomasson ‘s campaign may actually be working.” From what I’m seeing on the I-1192 petition reports, his efforts don’t seem to be working at all. The response is terrific. I am certain it will be on R-74 as well.
A quick visit to Thomasson’s site, where he has published the 66 responses he has so far received, reveals that he is only publishing first names, intentionally protecting the anonymity of the individuals who reply. Further, while Randall is generally correct that most of the responses maintain an opposition to marriage equality, Thomasson’s project already boasts two important achievements: 1) The fact that any of the petitioners have rethought their position and may decline to sign Referendum 74 represents successful progress. 2) The responses cast a sincere glimpse into the religious motivations and anti-gay animus behind those who would try to deprive same-sex couples of the right to marry. These responses arguably reflect quite negatively on a campaign that claims to be “protecting” marriage, as opposed to depriving couples of it, and they could prove useful both in Washington and other states fighting ballot campaigns related to same-sex marriage.