Pam Spaulding

The "outing" of 83,000 anti-gay Arkansas citizens

Filed By Pam Spaulding | April 29, 2009 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, The Movement
Tags: Act 1, adoption rights, Arkansas, Know Thy Neighbor

In what is sure to anger and frustrate the fundies yet again, KnowThyNeighbor hasNames of Arkansas Anti-Gay Petition Signers Posted Online launched a searchable database of Arkansans who signed a petition to ban gay adoption and foster care rights. The information is a matter of the public record, provided by the Arkansas Secretary of State's office; KnowThyNeighbor.org simply scanned the paper petitions and transcribed them and placed pdf versions of the actual document the citizen signed.

You'll recall that the discriminatory ballot measure passed overwhelmingly last year, 57% to 43%. KnowThyNeighbor:

"This is about responsibility and dialogue," said Tom Lang, KnowThyNeighbor.org's director. "These petition signers need to stand behind their signatures and be responsible for this dehumanizing attack on the gay community. It's disgraceful that they have chosen to exercise their prejudice at the expense of children who are now being denied access to loving adoptive and foster parents. Such activity must be challenged and cannot be allowed to pass under the cover of darkness."

As in Massachusetts and Florida, KnowThyNeighbor.org expects that many petition signers will be confronted about their actions as their names are discovered on the website by family members, friends, coworkers, customers, and acquaintances. "These conversations can be uncomfortable for both parties," says Lang, "but they are desperately needed. The more that gays and lesbians talk about the importance of their relationships and their love for their children, the faster stereotypes break down and both sides begin to realize how much they have in common."

During the Prop 8 battle in California, donor information, also part of the public record, was placed into a searchable database available on web sites: the San Francisco Chronicle, the LAT, Mormons for Prop 8, a mapped version at sfist, 8Maps.com, among other places, and ProtectMarriage.com and the bible beaters filed a challenge to the voter-approved law requiring transparency in campaign finance. Imagine that -- disagreeing with a law determined by "the people?" That's rich -- and turning to the "activist judges" for help, no less; it's laughable.

These donors who helped pass Proposition 8 are angry that boycotts and actions were taken to publicize their decision to foment bigotry, yet are the same people who used pressure tactics on anti-Prop 8 supporters.

At least one businessman who donated to "No on 8," Jim Abbott of Abbott & Associates, a real estate firm in San Diego, received a letter from the Prop. 8 Executive Committee threatening to publish his company's name if he didn't also donate to the "Yes on 8" campaign.

Those public disclosure laws are good -- until they aren't -- to the haters.

Technology, in this case, enables public records to be easily accessible and activists are able to use this information in ways never thought possible (on either side). So, do you think there will be an outcry in Arkansas about this?


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FYI...This initiative is a partnership with CAR, a grassroots LGBTQ centric organization based in Little Rock, AR.

www.artisticrevolution.org

It couldn't happen to nicer people...

These folks deserve it more than the other states that had this happen to them. Arkansas needs this badly.

Brad Bailey | May 1, 2009 4:43 AM

Well-put, Alex. I agree with you totally. I live in Fayetteville, in the northwest corner of Arkansas. I didn't find out about this until just now. I'll go to the website now and see what happens.