SACRAMENTO, Calif. --- Acting on behalf of supporters of Prop 8 who have experienced extensive acts of harassment, including death threats, the ProtectMarriage.com - Yes on 8 committee Thursday urged a federal court judge to issue a preliminary injunction prohibiting the state from requiring further disclosure of the committee's donors.
The request was made before U.S. District Court Judge Morrison C. England, Jr. in a federal court hearing in Sacramento. The Yes on Prop 8 campaign has challenged the constitutionality of California's campaign finance laws that compel disclosure of personal information of Prop 8 donors.
At the hearing, Judge Morrison C. England ruled against the ProtectMarriage.com - Yes on 8 committee, denying its request for a preliminary injunction to protect the identities of those donors who have contributed $100 to $999 since October 18, 2008.
"We are disappointed that we did not receive the preliminary injunction," said Frank Schubert, Yes on 8 Campaign Manager. "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."
"There has been a systematic effort to intimidate and harass donors to the Prop 8 campaign," said Ron Prentice, Chairman of ProtectMarriage.com. "The latest example of this is the publication by our opponents of 'Google Maps' showing the home or office location of Yes on 8 contributors. (see www.eightmaps.com) The message of this harassment is unmistakable -- 'support traditional marriage and we will find you.'"
The suit notes that groups such as Californians Against Hate (www.californiansagainsthate.com) exist for the primary purpose of identifying and taking action against supporters of Proposition 8. The suit cited numerous examples of threatening and harassing emails, phone calls and postcards suffered by supporters of Proposition 8, including death threats.
"The United States Supreme Court has held that when there is a reasonable probability that disclosure of contributor information will result in harassment of contributors to a political organization, the organization can be exempted from further disclosure of contributor information," Prentice said.
The suit alleges that California's Political Reform Act is unconstitutional on numerous grounds, including the right of contributors to exercise their First Amendment rights free from threats, harassment and reprisals. The suit also challenges the Act's requirements that committees report all contributors of $100 or more as unconstitutionally overbroad in violation of the First Amendment because it is not narrowly tailored to serve a compelling government interest. The $100 threshold has not been increased for nearly 30 years. The U.S. Supreme Court has warned that contribution thresholds that are not indexed to inflation are vulnerable to challenge.
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