SAN FRANCISCO (Nov. 4, 2011)— City Attorney Dennis Herrera praised today’s federal court decision requiring supporters of Proposition 8 to comply with state campaign finance laws. Backers of Proposition 8, the constitutional amendment that denied same-sex couples the right to marry, had sought to hide theidentities of their contributors, arguing that those contributors would be harassed if their names were disclosed.
The City Attorney’s Office has defended the case alongside counsel for the State of California and the Fair Political Practices Commission. The court had previously rejected Plaintiffs’ claims in preliminary proceedings in January 2009 and in a ruling announced on October 20, 2011. Today’s written decision resolves the case at the trial court level.
In today’s decision, the court held that Proposition 8 supporters are not the type of persecuted small group eligible for a special exemption from campaign finance disclosure laws. The court also found that the evidence presented by Proposition 8 supporters was “simply insufficient.” As the court observed, “from a practical perspective, it makes no sense to buy in to the argument that disclosure may result in repercussions when there is simply no real evidence in the record that such repercussions actually did occur in the past three years.”
The court also rejected the Proposition 8 supporters’ sweeping challenges to California’s Political Reform Act. They had asked the court to invalidate California laws requiring disclosure of all political contributions of $100 or more and requiring public disclosure of campaign filings after Election Day. The court rejected each of these claims and affirmed the strong public interest in knowing the true source of money behind ballot measures.
City Attorney Dennis Herrera offered the following statement:
“The Proposition 8 supporters who brought this case have promoted the idea that they were the victims of the Proposition 8 campaign, instead of the gay men and lesbians who lost the right to marry. I commend the Court for its careful review of the evidence and its thorough and well-reasoned opinion rejecting the false narrative of widespread harassment. Today’s decision is a victory for the voters of California. They are entitled to know who was behind Proposition 8 and who seeks their vote in other campaigns.”
The case is ProtectMarriage.com v. Bowen, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California, Case No. 09-CV-00058-MCE-DAD. It is before U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England, Jr.ict Judge Morrison C. England, Jr.
PDF copy of the CCSF’s Memo and Points of Authority
PDF copy of court’s order