Anti-Gay Signature Fraud Caught on Tape

Day 75

Today was an exciting day. We are in Washington state. There is a push by the anti-gay forces in the state to repeal the Domestic Partnership legislation recently passed by the Washington legislature. Anti-gay organizations are trying to collect enough signatures to bring Referendum 71 to the ballot. This referendum seeks to repeal the Domestic Partnership Expansion Law of 2009, passed by the legislature, that gives registered domestic partners wherever they live in Washington many of the rights and protections already enjoyed by legally married couples.

If the backers of Referendum 71 collect enough signatures to get it on the November ballot, then the question on the ballot will be: Should this bill be approve or rejected?

The anti-gay organizations are using paid signature gatherers in attempt to collect the required number of signatures needed to put the referendum on the ballot. The signatures are due this Saturday.

While in Port Angeles, Washington, we stopped at WalMart for a quick minute. (Interesting Fact: Port Angeles, WA is where the book and film “Twilight” takes place.) As I was walking into WalMart, I was stopped by a signature gatherer who asked my opinion on same-sex marriage. I told him that I am gay and we had a long conversation about equal rights.

After I bought some medicine at the pharmacy, I came back out to the van and grabbed my camera. I filmed the man collecting signatures for a bit, then I went over to talk with him. He was friendly and let me film him for a while.

We talked about his personal beliefs about same-sex marriage. He is in favor of equal marriage rights and would vote against the referendum if it gets on the ballot. He went on for a while about how gays deserve the same rights and that the church is wrong for trying to take those rights away. It was an interesting conversation.

Then it got even more interesting. He approached a woman and asked her if she supports same-sex marriage. When she said yes, he handed her the clipboard to sign the referendum. She though she was signing in favor of equal marriage. He tricked her, right in front of me, on camera. I called him out on it.

He said to her:

“Did you get a chance to sign our petition? We’re giving you an opportunity to decided whether or not you are in favor of giving homosexual couples legal marriage licenses. Not just the same rights as married people, but a marriage license too. Do you have an opinion on that? Yes? No? Or don’t Care?”

The woman said yes, that she will sign, and he handed her the clipboard. It was obvious to me that she was signing what she thought was a petition in favor or giving same-sex couples marriage licenses. So I asked her if she supports same-sex marriage. She said that she did.

That is not it. The bigger deal is that, to collect signatures, he is telling people that the referendum is to stop same-sex couples from getting marriage licenses. That is not true. He is telling folks that same-sex couples would still receive all the rights of marriage with Domestic Partnerships, when in fact, the referendum they are signing has nothing to do with marriage; it would repeal the Domestic Partnership law.

Unfortunately, at the time, I had no idea that he was lying about Referendum 71 being about marriage, not domestic partnerships. I just got into the state and knew nothing about the petition. I believed him when he said it was about marriage. It wasn’t until the next day, when I showed the footage to Equal Rights Washington that I learned he was even lying about the goals of the referendum.

I called my friend Josh, who is the Advocacy Director at Equal Rights Washington and told him about the footage. He was excited about it and asked me if he could use it on the campaign against the referendum. I am giving him a copy of the footage to expose the fraudulent signature gathering.

There is a lot more I could say about this interaction, but just watch the video. It is incredible.

If you like what we are doing, please help us continue the project by making a contribution.

22 Responses to Anti-Gay Signature Fraud Caught on Tape

  1. AJ says:

    The referendum is in support of domestic partnerships, but is unnecessary if their petition fails. If they succeed, Washington voters MUST vote “yes” to get it approved, otherwise it does not go into effect.

    It’s part of an incrementalist strategy in the legislature. These are rights we don’t have quite yet, but if the petition fails tomorrow, we’ll have them right away without a vote.

    I’m wondering if the signature gatherer said “no” at first when asked to gather them but was told that domestic partnership rights wouldn’t be extended otherwise and decided he’d gather signatures.

  2. […] Mason of Driving Equality recalls: While in Port Angeles, Washington, we stopped at WalMart for a quick minute. (Interesting […]

  3. Jake says:

    Chris, why didn’t you call out “Adam” on the issue of the “marriage license”? He was never confronted with this particular lie.

  4. […] on tape tricking pro-LGBT voters into signing anti-LGBT petitions. An excerpt: Chris Mason of Driving Equality […]

  5. Chris,

    I’m curious as to what he would have said if you’d asked him “Do you think the people have the right to vote on whether or not YOU should be able to get married?”

    This is amazing footage — your entire trip has been both inspiring and horrifying.

  6. brenda says:

    I like what you are doing in this video, but my question is, why are you shopping at Walmart? Walmart is very anti-gay and anti-union. Don’t give them our gay dollars.

  7. bigjohn756 says:

    Why do Christians ignore their own commandments when it comes to promoting their own agenda?

  8. Lloyd Baltazar says:

    SON OF A BITCH!!! WHAT A LYING SACK OF SHIT THIS GUY IS!!!! The moment I saw when he mislead that lady about signing her signature on that damn clipboard I WANTED TO SOCK the SHIT OUT OF HIS FACE.


  9. Chris Mason says:

    Jake –

    Thanks for the comment. I should have mentioned this in the post, and will update it now. I had no idea that he was lying about Referendum 71 beings about Domestic Partnerships, not marriage. I just got into the state and knew nothing about the petition. I believed him when he said it was about marriage. It wasn’t until the next day, when I showed the footage to Equal Rights Washington that I learned he was even lying about goals of the referendum.

  10. Ok, but what does this mean for the signatures that were collected. You can’t just say they are all null and void because you have evidence of one rogue signature collector. There must be some advertisements put on IMMEDIATELY that tells people that if they signed such a document unknowingly then they need to call the Secretary of State’s office and have their name removed from the signatures.

  11. Chris Mason says:

    Unfortunately, in Washington state, you are not able to have your signature removed. It is also perfectly legal to commit fraud and trick someone into signing a petition. That’s right, this tactic is not against the law, and does not disqualify the signatures.

  12. Tom Lang says:

    And the ONLY way to check the fraud and get to the bottom of the trickery that has put these anti-gay referendums on the ballot is to stand by the work of organizations like and These organizations post the names of the signers of these petitions and if you check KTN’s Arkansas link you will see the actual petitions online also, so the public and the campaigns can check fraud right down to the actual signatures on the actual petitions. The added bonus here is that (pending no purposeful negative PR from the state Equality Groups against us) KTN and activate the base to look to signatures of people they know and to provide a direct way to advocate on LGBT rights. No other organization aside from the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus has ever provided this strategy to the LGBT and allied public.

  13. David says:

    Chris, thanks for exposing this fraud! Hypocrisy comes in so many shapes and forms. Keep up the good work and safe travels!

  14. Gay says:

    Twilight takes place in Forks.

    Also, this guy is a douchebag and I wish that this could be taken into court to throw out the signatures.

  15. Chris Mason says:

    Twilight takes place is Forks and in Port Angeles. Port Angeles is where they go to buy the prom dresses and go out to dinner. I was in Forks as well, there is nothing there, that is why they go to Port Angeles.

    I wish it could be taken to court as well. I hope the Washington legislature makes this illegal in the near future.

  16. Tom Lang says:

    Good luck if you think anyone is going to change the laws regarding initiative petitions in Washington State. When MEQ pushed for that in Massachusetts it was done primarily as campaign PR for saving same sex marriage. Washington State unfortunately seems to have little campaign strategy. There seems to be limited leadership regarding Ref 71. Point in fact, there is a Federal lawsuit still pending which asks to not allow public release of signatures on Ref 71, contributors to Ref 71 and is spelled out in the lawsuit to restrict public access to any information regarding gay rights and those who would oppose them from future initiatives. Crazy though it sound, no gay groups have made any statements denouncing this suit. Washington is a botched campaign.

  17. Alex Oh says:

    Thanks for posting this. I’m looking at my mail in ballot right now and at first marked approved but then I read more carefully and wasn’t too sure what this was all about. I wanted to make sure same sex couples weren’t stuck in being domestic partnerships but actually married.

  18. Peter says:

    If you listen at the beginning of the video, “Adam” was asking people if they wanted to participate in a survey. I’m pretty sure that there is a big difference between a survey and a petition. Also, he kept saying he’s for gay marriage. Did he not realize that those rights were already granted in Washington State in May and by getting people to sign his petition he was giving anti-gay fighters the chance to take those rights away? The woman he approached who was for gay marriage was definitely not told that because I don’t think that “Adam” knew that. As far as that woman was concerned, she was taking part in a survey. Thanks for posting this! At least now we know why they were so afraid to let those signatures become public: they used deception and trickery to get most of them!

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  20. dmp-bd60 says:

    I like twilight! I could sit and watch all day long if I didn’t have school..or life to keep me from doing it! lol Superb Just Amazing!

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  22. […] folks are claiming that Referendum 71 backers used fraudulent methods to obtain signatures. Driving Equality blog claims to have evidence of it on […]

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