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Wash. gay partnership foes want donor names secret

Sponsors of a campaign to overturn Washington state's domestic partnership law have asked the state's Public Disclosure Commission to keep the names of their donors secret because they say the supporters have received threats.

Associated Press Writer

OLYMPIA, Wash. —

Sponsors of a campaign to overturn Washington state's domestic partnership law have asked the state's Public Disclosure Commission to keep the names of their donors secret because they say the supporters have received threats.

In a letter sent Thursday, Protect Marriage Washington asked the commission to hold an emergency hearing and requested that "any disclosures made prior to any hearing be held under seal."

An attorney for the R-71 campaign, Stephen Pidgeon, wrote that a threat posted on the Web site Queer Equality Revolution was forwarded to the FBI.

On the Web site, which says it is run by John Bisceglia of Bellingham, Bisceglia wrote that he advocated using violence "against the property of ALL of those who are working tirelessly to HURT my family; starting with churches and government property. Government is enabling a vote on whether or not I `should be allowed' to see my husband while he is dying in a hospital - any NORMAL man would be driven to get a gun and kill those who tried such evil cruelty against his loved ones."

"Don't even TRY to call ME a `bully' - I am defending myself AGAINST the bullies," he wrote.

Pidgeon also cites several e-mails he says members of the campaign have received that threaten violence.

"This is a true threat to the lives and property of those people who support the referendum process," he wrote to the commission.

Bisceglia did not immediately return phone and e-mail messages seeking comment Tuesday.

On his Web site, Bisceglia writes that he's a former piano teacher who blogs to "avoid the insanity and RAGE I feel as I listen, wait for, and experience Americans `debating' AND voting on my CIVIL RIGHT to marry the person I love."

Protect Marriage Washington is trying to repeal the so-called "everything but marriage" law, which would expand gay partnership rights. The new law was scheduled to take effect July 26, but it has been delayed until officials can verify whether there are enough valid signatures to put R-71 on the November ballot. If there are enough signatures, the law will be delayed until the outcome of the election.

A federal judge has granted a temporary restraining order to bar the release of signatures on R-71 petitions, which are still being counted. The campaign needs 120,577 valid signatures and turned in more than 137,000 signatures July 25.

A political group called WhoSigned.Org has said it will publish online the names of people who signed petitions. The petition-listing effort is not supported by the official campaign trying to keep R-71 off the ballot.

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The new domestic partnership law expands on Washington's existing partnerships. The newest version adds registered domestic partners to all remaining areas of state law that presently apply only to married couples. Those statutes range from adoption and child support rights and obligations, to pensions and other public employee benefits.

The underlying domestic partnership law, which passed the Legislature two years ago, provided hospital visitation rights, the ability to authorize autopsies and organ donations, and inheritance rights when there is no will. Last year, lawmakers expanded it to give domestic partners standing under laws covering probate and trusts, community property and guardianship.

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The domestic partnership bill is Senate Bill 5688.

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On the Net:

Legislature: http://www.leg.wa.gov

Washington Families Standing Together: http://www.wafst.org

Protect Marriage Washington: http://www.protectmarriagewa.com

Domestic partnership information: http://www.secstate.wa.gov/corps/domesticpartnerships

WhoSigned.Org: http://www.whosigned.org

Queer Equality Revolution: http://gaytaxprotest.blogspot.com/2009/08/gays-who-make-sense.html

Copyright © The Seattle Times Company

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