Same-sex marriage opponents harassed for supporting Proposition 8 will not be allowed to keep records of their donations to the ballot measure anonymous.
U.S. District Judge Morrison England decided, Thursday, to uphold a law allowing all political donations over $100 to be made public. After voters passed Prop 8 to end same-sex marriage in California Nov. 4, a list of donors and their location was released by the state and published on several Web sites.
"If there ever needs to be sunshine on a particular issue, it's a ballot measure," England said.
A committee for Protect Marriage, the campaign that sponsored Prop 8, filed the lawsuit Jan. 8 after several supporters said they were harassed and even threatened once their names were revealed as donors.
By requiring disclosure, "the government is getting in the middle and saying, 'Here are the people to go after,'" Richard Coleson, a lawyer for the committee, said.
He argued that the state's $100 disclosure requirement adopted in 1974 should be overturned, raised to accommodate inflation, or not apply to Prop 8. contributions.
Still, Deputy Attorney General Zackery Morazzini said ruling in favor of the group could carry over into other controversial issues and "keep the entire California electorate in the dark as to who was funding these ballot measures."
Because of England's ruling, a list of those who donated to Prop 8 within two weeks of the election or afterward will be publicly released in a report Monday.
Campaign spokesman Frank Schubert said the decision "puts 1,600 people in harm's way."
Protect Marriage plans to appeal the ruling to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
Sources: Associated Press, San Francisco Chronical