Breaking news: Judge denies Prop 8 backers' attempt to hide
by Seth Hemmelgarn
Backers of Proposition 8 will have to disclose who their donors are, a federal judge ruled today (Thursday, January 29).
ProtectMarriage.com and the National Organization for Marriage California filed a lawsuit January 8 challenging California's Political Reform Act, claiming their donors had been subjected to harassment and threats. The suit had sought to avoid reporting of late donors and expunge records already available.
The law requires disclosure of the name, occupation, and employer of anyone contributing at least $100.
According to the Sacramento Bee , U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. stated, "The court finds that the state is not facilitating retaliation by compelling disclosure."
Fred Karger, head of Californians Against Hate, which has organized boycotts of Prop 8 supporters and posted information about donors online, told the Bay Area Reporter , "I commend the court. They did the right thing. I'm sorry there's been harassment which has occurred on both sides, but the public's right to know who the donors are to all political camps supercedes anything that transpired ... I question some of their accusations anyway."
Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California and a member of the No on 8 executive committee, said in a statement that the group was "thrilled" about the judge's ruling.
"During the Proposition 8 campaign, the very same groups who filed this legal challenge sent menacing letters to Equality California's donors, as well as corporations, labor unions, and individuals who stood up to discrimination and supported the No on 8 campaign. Now they are calling themselves the victims," Kors said.
"What's more, these groups are arguing on the one hand that voter initiatives like Prop 8 should never be overturned by courts. On the other, they are asking a federal court to void a campaign reform law that was passed by voter initiative in California," he continued.
The Political Reform Act was passed in 1974, after President Richard Nixon was forced to resign due to the Watergate scandal.
In a statement, Yes on 8 campaign manager Frank Schubert said, "We are disappointed that we did not receive the preliminary injunction. But this fight is really about how donors to a future campaign will be treated. We are committed to ensuring that supporters of traditional marriage can do so without fear of intimidation and harassment."
The statement said the injunction had been requested today.
Updated information on who donated to both sides of the Prop 8 campaign are due to the secretary of state's office Monday, February 2.