The Seattle Times asked King County Executive candidates where they stood on Referendum 71.

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Constantine said he strongly supports the law and would vote to approve R-71. “It’s a question of basic fairness,” he said. “I believe we should treat people the same regardless of sexual orientation.” He said he would also support legal marriage for same-sex couples, but said the political climate isn’t right for that step just yet in Washington state.

Yes, Hutchison said, she would vote to approve R-71. “I believe it was an appropriate action by the Legislature, so I’m going to vote for it,” she said. She declined to elaborate on reasons for her support, saying she was trying to focus on issues “that really matter to the King County executive race.” But, she added, it’s valid to discuss R-71 because it is on the ballot.

Constantine said he disagrees with the ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Benjamin Settle to keep the names private. “Democracy depends on transparency, and I don’t think transparency should be eroded,” he said. Anyone who used those records to threaten or intimidate petitioners should be brought to justice, he said, “but that doesn’t mean we should hide the information.” Hutchison said she believes the names of petitioners should be kept private. Protecting petitioners from threats and preserving a robust initiative process is paramount, she said. “It’s important we uphold the right to referendum without intimidation. Next year it might be a different topic, it may be brought by different interest groups, and I think all people should have freedom to petition without intimidation.”

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