Referendum-71 Brought up in California Court - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Referendum-71 Brought up in California Court

Posted: Updated:

WASHINGTON--  It's a controversial topic-- if you signed a petition that's on this year's ballot, should your signature be made public information?

Wednesday, a California court heard from the state of Washington on whether signatures of Referendum-71, which lets you vote on the 'Everything but Marriage' bill, should be made public. 

While this case was going on in California, there was a second case in Thurston County on the same topic.  The judge disagreed with releasing names and signatures.

Some argue it's public information, while others say it violates privacy.

"This is an enormously threatening thing for citizens who chose to simply sign a petitions to put a ballot measure on the ballot for voters to vote on.  For those people to then be exploited and harassed, you think there's going to be a lot of people willing to sign a petition in the future?" says Tim Eyman, a sponsor of many initiatives.

"When you're participating in the initiative or referendum process, you're participating in a legislative process," says Nick Handy with the Secretary of State's Office.  "That's an open and transparent process and we believe that when you step into that arena, you're stepping into a public arena."

No word on when the California court will issue a ruling.  In the meantime, no names will be released.