In an interesting article in Slate, Dahlia Lithwick asks; "What happens to democracy when everyone's too scared to show up?" Apparently, several witnesses in legal proceedings around the gay marriage issue in California have claimed they are too afraid to testify (and have successfully petitioned the US Supreme Court to prevent a local judge from allowing any video coverage of the trial at all), and in one case in Washington, have asked the courts to suppress the public record of the list of signatories to a petition to put a repeal of gay marriage rights on the ballot.
I understand that some supporters of these repeal efforts have been subjected to physical threats, intimidation, and vandalism, and that's clearly wrong (though there's an inescapable irony in the fact that the cause of that ill treatment is their advocacy of the position that it's OK to mistreat others). I'm not aware, though, that anyone has actually been physically harmed in such circumstances (unlike the dozens of people who have been beaten or killed by those who want to lock their gay and lesbian neighbors back in the closet).
On the other hand, one of the complaints from those who supported California's Prop. 8, and those who would like to put a similar measure on the Washington ballot, is that they're being subjected to financial damage from those who will no longer patronize their businesses. Sorry, but that's not a sufficient threat to make me believe that a public record should be made private. While it's not something I say at all often, I agree wholeheartedly with Justice Scalia, who said during oral argument in the California case; "'The fact is, running a democracy takes a certain amount of civic courage."
They shouldn't be subjected to physical violence or threats of that violence, but if those who want to change the laws aren't willing to stand up and be counted (and risk the rejection of their fellow citizens for their beliefs), they should sit down and shut up.