National

Sep 11, 2009 1:51 PM by Associated Press

Washington to appeal ruling in gay rights referendum

The Washington state attorney general's office says it is appealing a federal judge's decision to keep secret the names of people who signed petitions calling for a public vote on expanded domestic partnership benefits.

Spokeswoman Janelle Guthrie says Attorney General Rob McKenna will ask the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review the decision on a fast track, and in the meantime, he wants the appeals court to lift an injunction that blocks the release of the names.

U.S. District Judge Ben Settle ruled Thursday that the petitions should not be released because it would likely chill the First Amendment rights of petition signers. He said people have a right to participate anonymously in the political process.

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