Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Court Refuses To Enjoin Contribution Reporting Requirement For California Prop 8

In ProtectMarriage.com v. Bowen, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13059 (ED CA, Jan. 30, 2009), a California federal district court refused to grant a preliminary injunction to excuse the required Jan. 31 filing of semi-annual contribution reports by groups that supported Proposition 8, the contentious anti-gay marriage amendment that passed in California in last November's election. California law requires committees to report the names, addresses, occupations and employers of everyone who contributed $100 or more to the initiative campaign. The information is available on the Secretary of State's website. Plaintiffs allege that contributors, many motivated by their religious opposition to gay marriage, have been subject to threats, reprisals, and harassment. (See prior related posting.) The court found little likelihood of success on the merits of plaintiffs' First Amendment "as applied" challenge to the reporting requirements. The court rejected plaintiffs' arguments that Supreme Court precedent protecting the privacy of contributors to minor parties applies here. Here plaintiffs were part of a majority and the level of harassment alleged did not reach that threatened in those minor party cases.