The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the anti-gay forces behind California’s unconstitutional Proposition 8 have petitioned a federal court, asking for an exemption to the state’s campaign finance disclosure laws.
The organization known as “Protect Marriage” is a coalition of right-wing extremists and religious organizations who sponsored and campaigned for the passage of the California ballot initiative to ban gay marriage, and they are the plaintiffs challenging California’s campaign finance disclosure statute.
During a hearing last Friday, before a 3 judge panel in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, lawyers argued that publicly disclosing the names of campaign donors subjected them to “vandalism, hate mail, boycotts and death threats.”
San Francisco Chronicle staff writer Bob Egelko reports:
U.S. District Judge Morrison England of Sacramento refused to seal the contribution records and said most of the reported incidents could be attributed to predictable excesses by both sides in a bitterly fought campaign. He said a small number of alleged violent acts and threats had been referred to police and prosecutors.
In his November 2011 ruling, England also noted that the Prop. 8 campaign raised more than $40 million and got over 7 million votes. By contrast, he said, the U.S. Supreme Court had reserved confidentiality for "small, persecuted groups whose very existence depended on some manner of anonymity," like the Socialist Workers Party during the Cold War and the NAACP in the segregated South.
John Eastman, a law professor and chairman of the National Organization for Marriage, replied that threats and harassment have continued since the 2008 election and could recur in future campaigns.
When LGBT organizations receive death threats, boycotts, vandalism, and hate mail, these anti-gay groups call it protected free speech. When these extremist groups experience a backlash from our community, they want to run and hide to shield their supporters, so that they can finance another battle in a continuing culture war, with reckless impunity.
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