A battle over the disclosure of donors to the campaign to ban gay marriage in California, as well as the video recordings of the court hearings are headed to higher court. In two cases, federal judges denied the anti-gay groups ProtectMarriage.com and the National Organization for Marriage their requests to be exempt from laws that require the disclosure of the donors to the $40 million Proposition 8 campaign and the video recordings of the trial. The backers of the 2008 ballot measure claimed exposure would endanger their contributors.
In both cases, the judges ruled that there was insufficient evidence that the supporters of the ban on gay marriage would face any discrimination or harm if their names are made public. Marriage equality advocates are pushing for the release of both the campaign donors and the videos, which would follow current federal and state laws.
However, the suit insists that Proposition 8 supporters have been subjected to harassment, vandalism, hate mail, boycotts, assaults and death threats.
“Some groups and individuals, certainly a minority, have resorted to advancing their cause by discouraging participation in the democratic process through intimidation,” James Bopp, a lawyer for Protect Marriage and the National Organization for Marriage, said in court papers.
Current California state law requires the disclosure of the identity of the donor for any donation of $100 or more to a political campaign or fund. The two groups together raised approximately $43.3 million for the Proposition 8 campaign in 2008.