NOM Funding to be Investigated in Maine

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The state of Maine may now be the number one battleground for traditional marriage. The people of The Pine Tree State will vote next month on whether to veto their state's new gay marriage law.

Meanwhile, the state ethics commission has decided to investigate the fundraising of one traditional marriage group. The ethics commission has voted 3 to 2 to examine if the National Organization for Marriage violated Maine campaign finance laws in their contributions to the Stand For Marriage Maine campaign.

NOM has not publicly released donors' names to the Stand For Marriage campaign.

Some say it is an effort to silence the opponents of gay marriage. It is very similar to what happened during California's marriage battle in 2008 over Proposition 8. A federal judge in California denied a request to keep donors' names to the Prop 8 campaign secret.

California supporters of traditional marriage were suddenly thrust in the limelight after their names and addresses were posted on a number of Web sites.

"Somebody in my town printed up a flyer and it said, 'Bigot' and had my picture and name on it," Calif. Prop 8 supporter Bill Turrentine told a reporter.

Californians Against Hate founder Fred Karger helped bring about the Maine ethics investigation. Karger's group was originally formed to identify major donors in the Prop 8 campaign. He says NOM violated Maine state law by not reporting donors' names whose money is spent spent on the Stand For Marriage Maine campaign. 

NOM replied to the allegations, saying it asks for money nationally without designating for specific campaigns -- so it doesn't need to report names.

CBN News spoke with NOM's Maggie Gallagher who said the charges are politically motivated.

"The professional staff who investigated this charge recommended to the Maine commission that they not investigate, because they understand what's going on here," she explained.

The investigation has no deadline.

In the meantime, the people of Maine will vote November 3 on whether to veto or uphold their state's new gay marriage law.

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