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Welcome to The Seattle Times' online letters to the editor, a sampling of readers' opinions. Join the conversation by commenting on these letters or send your own letter of up to 200 words letters@seattletimes.com.

May 4, 2010 at 4:00 PM

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Exposing Referendum 71 signers

Posted by Letters editor

Bruised messages could hurt

In his letter [“The ‘gay agenda,’ ” Northwest Voices, April 30], Howard Hance wrote, “We should take a small step toward [safety from harassment] by exposing the harassers who signed Referendum 71.” Respectfully, I could not disagree more. The motive behind making the names public is not transparency, but anger.

I did not sign the petition. I have followed this story closely because of my friends with domestic partners. It concerns me that exposing the names of the signers would tragically backfire because it begins with a mistaken assumption.

No one could know the intentions of every petition signer. The referendum itself caused enough confusion that a number of people signed it without really understanding why the rights and responsibilities of domestic partners were being put to a vote.

To assume that all signers of a petition have a single-minded and negative intention and should therefore be exposed for their prejudices is no better than the gross and unfair generalization that domestic partners are somehow unworthy of equal rights under the law. Please, do not turn the right to love and be loved into a message of intolerance. It is the wrong way to stand up to this issue. People would be hurt by it.

— Teresa Mosteller, Seattle

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