Citing previous death threats and harassment, backers of the Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage will ask a U.S. District Court on Thursday to exempt the measure’s campaign contributors from further public disclosure.
As part of the state campaign finance law, a semi-annual disclosure filing is due on Saturday to ensure that voters know who is backing canditates and ballot measures. However,
A 1982 U.S. Supreme Court ruling found that disclosure exemptions could be permitted if plaintiffs demonstrate a “reasonable probability” that those identified would be subjected to “threats, harassment, or reprisals.”
When it comes to Prop 8 donors, we are way past any reasonable probability that said donors would be threatened, harassed or encounter other reprisals, like vandalism, stalking, and loosing their jobs, because these things have already and continue to happen.
The lawsuit sites specific death threats received by previously disclosed donors, vandalism to private property, and white powder – eventually determined to be harmless – sent to two Mormon churches.
And it wouldn’t be a Prop 8 issue with out the dissenters complaining. As expected, opponents of the exemption include state Attorney General Jerry Brown, Secretary of State Debra Bowen, and the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission.
Brown said that victims should sue or file criminal charges rather than “carve out a special privilege of anonymity for themselves alone.”
According to the 1982 U.S. Supreme Court ruling as mentioned above, they don’t need to carve out any special privileges. It should be a given, in light of the violent and vulgar treatment received by so many prop 8 donors.
Richard L. Hasen, who specializes in election law at Loyola Law School, said the effort to shield the names of specific donors for Prop. 8 will be an easier argument to make than that for a blanket exemption on all ballot measure disclosures.
“In this case, we have seen credible claims of threats,” said Hasen, who has not taken a public position on the issue.
So I don’t get it. First the dissenters are irritated that we donated to Prop 8, then they are irritated that it passed!!!! Yeah!!! So they head out to harass and intimidate its donors and abuse the donor disclosure list. And now that the donors are fed up with the oppositions’ treatment, they’ve filed for privacy. Given the sitution, Prop 8 donors have every right to want their names removed from public view. What did the dissenters think would happen? Just because they don’t agree with us doesn’t mean we have to stay in plain site with big red targets on our garage doors. We aren’t being cowards, we are simply wanting to keep our jobs, keep our families safe and stop being harassed for exercising our Constitutional right to donate and vote according to our conscience. They don’t see us as a threat, because we aren’t, so they don’t feel the need for their names and donations to the No on 8 campaign to be made private.
Prop. 8 backers’ will make oral arguments before U.S. District Court Judge Morrison C. England, Jr., and seek a temporary exemption from filing donors’ names. If granted, the court would then hold further deliberations to determine a final decision.
Richard Winger, editor of Ballot Access News, said the last time a donor exemption was granted in California was 1989.
“A U.S. District Court in San Francisco ruled that the Socialist Action Party didn’t need to disclose people who contributed to its candidate for San Francisco supervisor,” Winger said. “It was an ACLU case. The city of San Francisco gave in and signed a consent decree.”
Some think that each donor should have to make their own case. But the filing is for the protection of all donors.
Chapman Law School Dean John Eastman, who sides with the Prop. 8 proponents in the case, disagreed, citing the 1982 Supreme Court precedent.
“I don’t find anything in that case saying there has to be individualized threats,” Eastman said. “The whole point is the prospective threat of economic or physical reprisal. How do you know you’re safe from a threat? You don’t wait until the threat has been made.”