Four gay-marriage opponents reside on my street in Jamaica Plain, according to KnowThyNeighbor.org, a searchable online database that allows anyone to search by name, address, city, or zip code to find out who backs a constitutional ban on gay marriage that equal-marriage foes submitted to the state in December. On the bright side, my own name doesn’t show up among the 123,356 certified signatures.
“We have a number of reports from people who were horrified to find their names on the petition,” says Marc Solomon, who was selected last month to replace Marty Rouse as campaign director for MassEquality. Since the state’s pro-marriage umbrella coalition launched its own searchable system on December 22, gay people, gay-marriage supporters, and even one dead person have been spotted among the petition signers, he says. Although Solomon doesn’t believe that they’ll find enough cases of fraud to derail the entire amendment — which will appear before the state legislature during the 2006-’07 session, and possibly before voters in 2008 — “it’s very important to understand the tactics that our opponents used to collect signatures.”
Both MassEquality and KnowThyNeighbor allege that Vote on Marriage signature collectors used shady methods, such as leading people to believe they were signing a petition in favor of selling wine in supermarkets. But Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute and spokesman for the Vote on Marriage initiative, denies the charges and calls both databases “a rather crass and abusive use of the freedom of information we have in our society” and says they are intended to “threaten and intimidate” those who would sign the petition.
To participate in such crass abuse of freedom, look for the gay-marriage opponent on your block at massequality.com or knowthyneighbor.org.
: This Just In
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