Stephen ColbertComedy Central's Stephen Colbert lampooned same sex marriage opponents in his "The Word" segment Monday night, turning the argument against "outing" on its head by farcically arguing that the signers of an anti-gay marriage petition should be allowed to stay in the closet.

Opponents of gay marriage in Washington state are trying to keep the signers of an anti-gay marriage petition private. Protect Marriage Washington got enough signatories to mount a referendum against a provision allowing gay couples to enjoy the same benefits as straight couples, but refuses to disclose the names of the signers.

"God knows what would happen to our names if they end up in China," Colbert remarked. "If those names are released, we would all then know the signers. By which i mean their orientation about other people's sexual orientation. and that's a very personal thing.

"Some say 'too bad, they chose to sign this petition,'" Colbert continued. "But, folks, I don't believe it's a choice. I believe you're born thinking gays don't have the right to get married. Or even be joined in union.

"The gays have no right to out those people," he added. "My sexual orientation orientation is a matter of public record. I've said countless times that I don't believe gays should be allowed to marry. or get driver's licenses or join the subway sub club. But some of these petition signers may have open minded parents who aren't ready to accept that their child is intolerant. They also may not be ready to tell their co-workers that their friend phillip isn't just a 'roommate' but a very special someone who helps them make up facts about Scandinavia. We need to protect this persecuting minority. And the only way to do that is for Washington residents to vote in favor of gay domestic partnerships. Because then, no one will care who signed the petition. And these people can stay in the closet, that the gay people have abandoned.

"And that's the word," he concluded.

This video is from Comedy Central's The Colbert Report, broadcast Oct. 26, 2009.