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NOM Exposed Document

NOM Exposed Document

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Published by Jeremy Hooper

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Published by: Jeremy Hooper on Nov 15, 2011
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07/27/2013

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The National Organization for Marriage (NOM)argues aggressively that, despite widely-supportedpublic disclosure laws on the books, it does nothave to reveal its donors and that marriage equalityopponents don’t have to be publicly known. NOM stands rmly on the side of nondisclosure and secrecy. Yet just over the past few weeks and months,multiple federal judges and state boards have havethrown out NOM-backed cases, concluding thereasons NOM cites for needing such secrecy — LGBTpeople are bullies and will harass NOM supporters— is bogus and without sufcient evidence. NOMhas unsuccessfully challenged disclosure laws inWashington, Maine, Minnesota, New York, California,Rhode Island, and Iowa. In fact, in every jurisdictionthat NOM and its allies have tried to underminepublic disclosure they have lost.
“GAYS AS BULLIES”EXPOSED AS FALSE
EFFORT BY THE NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MARRIAGE TO DEMONIZE,INTENTIONALLY CONCEAL DONATIONS REJECTED BY COURTS
“…WHILE PLAINTIFFSCHARACTERIZETHEIR EVIDENCEAS VOLUMINOUSAND COMPRISED OF‘VIRTUALLY COUNTLESSREPORTS OF THREATS,HARASSMENT, ANDREPRISALS,’ […] THEYHAVE POINTED TORELATIVELY FEWINCIDENTS ALLEGEDLYSUFFERED BY PERSONSLOCATEDACROSS THE ENTIRECOUNTRY WHO HADSOMEHOW MANIFESTEDTHEIR SUPPORT FORTRADITIONAL MARRIAGE.”
- U.S. DISTRICT COURT, EASTERNDISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA,Filed Nov. 4, 2011
 
WASHINGTON
The National Organization for Marriage and one of its afliates sought to repeal a domestic partnershiplaw two years ago in Washington state. They gathered the requisite number of signatures to put repealon the ballot, but voters overwhelmingly decided to keep the law in place. During the campaign, the NOMside demanded that the 138,000 signatures remain under seal. If the names were publicly disclosed, theycontended, gay people would threaten, harass and intimidate the signers. In October, U.S. District CourtJudge Benjamin Settle threw out NOM’s case, citing no credible evidence. The case followed from a 2010U.S. Supreme Court decision in which even Justice Scalia strongly rejected the anti-LGBT groups’ claims.
CALIFORNIA
In January 2009, NOM sued the California Secretary of State in federal court to avoid disclosing donors tothe Yes on Proposition 8 campaign. California law requires campaign committees to report information forany contributors of $100 or more, which is then made publicly available. Rather than follow the decades-old California Public Records Act, NOM suggested that it was entitled to a blanket exemption. In October,U.S. District Court Judge Morrison England Jr. rejected NOM’s suit, upholding California’s campaign nancereporting laws and noting that “disclosure… prevents the wolf from masquerading in sheep’s clothing.” Asin Washington the court found NOM’s evidence insufcient. 
MAINE
Throughout 2009, NOM provided $1.8 million to oppose the ballot referendum on marriage equality inMaine, but it illegally failed to disclose where the money came from. Maine law requires that any funds raisedto support or oppose a ballot question be made public. The Maine Ethics Commission launched an inquiryand unanimously denied NOM’s request to dismiss the state investigation into the organization’s nances.NOM sued the Commission in February of this year, but a federal judge sided with the Commission andupheld Maine’s campaign nance disclosure law as constitutional. NOM then took its case to the 1st CircuitCourt of Appeals, which sided with the State of Maine earlier this month. (NOM remains under investigationby state ofcials.) 
MINNESOTA
In June 2011, the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board ruled that groups advocatingfor or against a ballot measure on gay marriage are subject to certain disclosure requirements under statelaw. NOM had falsely argued that supporters of marriage equality would harass and intimidate their donors,and cause property damage if they were made public. The Board rejected NOM’s bid for nondisclosure.The Board’s decision followed a federal court ruling in September 2010 that upheld the state’s campaignnance disclosure laws against challenge by NOM’s lawyers. NOM is continuing to ght disclosure of itsdonors in connection with the ballot measure. 
“GAYS AS BULLIES” EXPOSED AS FALSE 
Human Rights Campaign
 
“PLAINTIFFS HAVE PRODUCED INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE THAT THEMORE INCENDIARY EVENTS ON WHICH THEY RELY WERE CONNECTEDTO PROPOSITION 8 OR TO GAY MARRIAGE AT ALL.”
- U.S. DISTRICT COURT, EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA, Filed Nov. 4, 2011
 
NEW YORK 
NOM wanted to run ads in support of Carl Paladino for Governorin 2010 but didn’t want to make donors’ names public. Under NewYork law, running ads in support of any candidate could classify thegroup as a political committee. As a political committee, it, like everyother organization, would then be subject to several reporting anddisclosure requirements. NOM refused and led suit. U.S. DistrictJudge Richard Arcara rejected NOM’s suit in February. 
RHODE ISLAND
In September 2010, NOM sued the state of Rhode Island to keep itsdonors secret, arguing the state’s restrictions on political advertisingand campaign nance disclosure requirements were unconstitutionaland overly broad. A district judge disagreed, and the 1st Circuit Courtof Appeals upheld the district judge’s ruling. 
IOWA
In 2009, NOM meddled in a special legislative election, part of itsefforts to get a constitutional amendment reversing the state SupremeCourt’s unanimous decision recognizing marriage equality. NOMasked its supporters to contribute in a nationwide email saying that“…best of all, NOM has the ability to protect donor identities.” Thee-mail and subsequent complaints prompted a letter from the IowaEthics and Campaign Finance Board stating that state law requiresdisclosure of political contributions solicited for the Iowa campaign. Why NOM doggedly ghts donor disclosure is unclear. It has arguedthat complying with campaign nance laws is burdensome andunconstitutional. It has also argued that gay rights advocates andtheir supporters will harass, intimidate, even damage property of thedonors should their identities be known. Serious scrutiny of theseclaims has revealed only isolated incidents, questionable reportsand, more often than not, legitimate acts of public criticism typical ofany hard-fought campaign. In California, for example, the court debunked NOM’s harassmentallegations, pointing out that “numerous of the acts about which[they] complain are mechanisms relied upon, both historically andlawfully, to voice dissent… This court cannot condemn those whohave legally exercised their own constitutional rights in order todisplay their dissatisfaction with [NOM’s] cause.” Ultimately, vilifyingthe LGBT community is part of the group’s fake victimization crusade. 
“GAYS AS BULLIES” EXPOSED AS FALSE 
Human Rights Campaign
 
“… THE VAST MAJORITYOF THE INCIDENTSCITED BY PLAINTIFFSARE ARGUABLY, ASCHARACTERIZEDBY DEFENDANTS,TYPICAL OF ANYCONTROVERSIALCAMPAIGN. FOREXAMPLE, PICKETING,PROTESTING,BOYCOTTING,DISTRIBUTINGFLYERS, DESTROYINGYARD SIGNS ANDVOICING DISSENT DONOT NECESSARILYRISE TO THE LEVELOF ‘HARASSMENT’OR ‘REPRISALS,’ESPECIALLY INCOMPARISON TO ACTSDIRECTED AT GROUPSIN THE PAST…AGOOD PORTION OFTHESE ACTIONSARE THEMSELVESFORMS OF SPEECHPROTECTED BYTHE UNITED STATESCONSTITUTION.“
- U.S. DISTRICT COURT, EASTERNDISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA,Filed Nov. 4, 2011

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