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Originally published Thursday, September 10, 2009 at 8:04 AM

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Tacoma judge may release names of R-71 signers

A federal judge in Tacoma may decide Thursday whether the public can see the names of people who signed Referendum 71. That's the measure on the November ballot that could roll back expanded rights for domestic partners.

The Associated Press

TACOMA, Wash. —

A federal judge in Tacoma may decide Thursday whether the public can see the names of people who signed Referendum 71. That's the measure on the November ballot that could roll back expanded rights for domestic partners.

Gay rights activists plan to post the names online, encouraging supporters of same-sex unions to discuss the issue with anyone they may recognize.

A temporary restraining order that bars public release of the signatures expires Friday. Petitions are public records under state law.

The group Protect Marriage Washington turned in nearly 138,000 signatures to qualify R-71 for the ballot. It says signers could be harassed, amounting to an infringement on their free speech rights.

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