“Will of the Voters” must be obeyed – unless it embarrasses those thin skinned Marriage Ban Donors
Posted on January 20, 2009
Filed Under Uncategorized
SAN FRANCISCO — In many ways it is a typical map, showing states, highways, cities and streets.
But also dotting the online display are thousands of red arrows, marking spots from Bryn Mawr, Pa., to Jamacha, Calif., identifying the addresses of donors who supported Proposition 8, which outlawed same-sex marriage in California.
It is exactly those arrows that concern supporters of the measure, who say they have been regularly harassed since the election — with threatening e-mail messages and sometimes boycotts of their businesses.
“Some gay activists have organized Web sites to actively encourage people to go after supporters of Proposition 8,” said Frank Schubert, the campaign manager for Protect Marriage, the leading group behind the proposition. “And giving these people a map to your home or office leaves supporters of Proposition 8 feeling especially vulnerable. Really, it is chilling.”
So chilling, apparently, that supporters have filed suit in Federal District Court in Sacramento seeking a preliminary injunction of a state election law that requires donors of $100 or more to disclose their names, addresses, occupations and other personal information. In particular, the suit seeks to stop the final filing for the 2008 election, which is due Jan. 31. That filing includes donations made in the closing days of the campaign, when the proposition surged to victory.
James Bopp Jr., a lawyer from Indiana who filed the lawsuit on the behalf of Protect Marriage, said the harassment of Proposition 8 supporters violated their constitutional rights of free speech and assembly.
“The cost of transparency cannot be discouragement of people’s participation in the process,” said Mr. Bopp, who has argued several prominent cases challenging campaign-finance laws in California and other states. “The highest value in the First Amendment is speech, and some amorphous idea about transparency cannot be used to subvert those rights.”
The election law in question, the Political Reform Act of 1974, was approved by California voters as Proposition 9, and gay rights advocates say there is rich irony in supporters of Proposition 8 opposing the earlier ballot measure.
“They believe in the will of the people if it’s in tune with what they believe,” said Jennifer C. Pizer, marriage project director with Lambda Legal, the gay rights legal organization, in Los Angeles.
Opponents of Proposition 8 are also suspicious of the intent of trying to prevent donors from being identified. “Do they want to hide something?” said Shannon P. Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco. See Marriage Ban Donors Feel Exposed by List New York Times
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