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Kennedy Blocks Release |of R-71 Supporter Names

(CN) - Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on Monday temporarily blocked Washington state officials from releasing the names of people seeking to overturn a new, expansive gay-rights law.

Protect Marriage Washington collected nearly 138,000 signatures to put Referendum 71 on the November ballot.

The 9th Circuit last week issued a three-page order requiring state officials to disclose the names of supporters of R-71, which asks voters to approve or reject a state law granting domestic partners the same rights as married heterosexuals.

Gay-rights activists urged state officials to release the names, so that people would know who was behind R-71. But Protect Marriage Washington argued that disclosure could expose R-71 supporters to harassment and would chill public participation in government.

In September, U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle barred state officials from releasing the names, a decision the 9th Circuit reversed last week. It's expected to issue a written opinion explaining its brief order.

State lawyers filed a 39-page response Monday, arguing that there's no basis for overturning the appeals court order.

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