A reader writes:
I have lived in a small rural town in Maryland for nearly 20 years, since this is where the man I loved lived. Two years ago we married in DC. I was able to access the same-sex marriage referendum database only once yesterday after multiple attempts, I expect because there are so many people trying to access it. I did a search on my street and found that my neighbors two doors down had signed the petition. The house in between ours is the home of another gay couple. All of us have lived here in this town for nearly 20 years. True, they are very active in their local Pentecostal church, but they are an interracial couple, and if anyone outside the gay world would understand the possibility of being denied the right to marry the person you love, I thought they would. And now that I know they signed the petition, I don't know what to do with that knowledge. It's very troubling to know for a fact that your neighbors would deny you the same rights they have.
I agree with you in principle that signing a petition is a public act, and I think it's fair game. But it's not so obvious as to require no substantive justification; voting is also a public act, and I highly doubt that you would be happy with a system in which our voting preferences were made publicly available. There is space in a democracy for public actions to be concealed; disclosure is not a universal public good. And therefore, I think it takes a little bit more of a full-bodied defense in order to justify the making public of petition signers. That's a case that can be made, but you haven't made it yet and it's not a trivial open-and-shut case.