Alliance Defense Fund attorneys and their legal allies have filed a lawsuit on behalf of ProtectMarriage.com and the National Organization for Marriage California to prevent "harassment of citizens who gave as little as $100 to support Proposition 8."
The ADF says the lawsuit, officially filed last week, documents incidents of harassment and retaliation by opponents who have targeted Proposition 8 supporters after their identities and employers were made public by the state as required by California campaign finance law.
“Putting the names and employers of the people who supported Proposition 8 on the Internet for anyone to see has caused serious problems," says James Bopp, Jr. lead attorney for the supporters of Proposition 8. "No one should worry about getting a death threat because of the way he or she votes. This lawsuit will protect the right of all people to help support causes they agree with, without having to worry about harassment or threats.”
In November, over 7 million Californians approved Proposition 8. Under a California law, people who gave money to support Proposition 8 had their names, employers, and other personal information listed on the Web site of the Secretary of State of California.
After Proposition 8 passed, ADF says, people who did not support Proposition 8 used the list of names to go after people who supported Proposition 8. Some people who supported Proposition 8 had their homes and churches vandalized, were forced to resign their jobs, and were even threatened with violence and death. To stop this harassment and these threats, this lawsuit asks the court to stop the release of the names and personal information of people who gave money to support Proposition 8.
“Our laws should ensure free participation in the democratic process, and not result in compromising the free speech and association rights guaranteed to all Americans,” said ADF Legal Counsel Tim Chandler, who is serving as local counsel in the case. “Citizens shouldn’t have to choose between being involved in the democratic process and subjecting themselves to acts of vengeance.”
The lawsuit challenges parts of California’s campaign finance laws that require people who donate as little as $100 to have personal information revealed on the Internet as unconstitutional violations of free speech. The lawsuit also challenges parts of the campaign finance laws that require reporting of donations after a proposition has been voted on as unconstitutional.
A copy of the complaint filed with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, Sacramento Division, in the lawsuit ProtectMarriage.com v. Bowen is available at www.telladf.org/UserDocs/ProtectMarriageComplaint.pdf.
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