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Judge supports disclosure of Proposition 8 donors

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  1. Libel and Privacy
A group of supporters of the California proposition banning same-sex marriage have been denied their request to remove their donors' personal…

A group of supporters of the California proposition banning same-sex marriage have been denied their request to remove their donors’ personal information from the state’s Web page.

According to The Associated Press, U.S. District Judge Morrison England Jr. denied the groups’ preliminary injunction request partly on the basis that they had not proven “irreparable injury,” and that public disclosure laws safeguard the public.

"The court finds that the state is not facilitating retaliation by compelling disclosure,” England said, referring to the plaintiffs’ argument that opponents of Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in the state, harassed several supporters whose donations had been made public.

Under California’s 1974 Political Reform Act, the state publishes the name and other identifying information of anyone who donates more than $100 to a campaign. According to The AP, the groups in the Proposition 8 case sought to use an exception to the law, delineated by a 1982 state Supreme Court case, that said certain small organizations can have such information withheld. Attorneys for the state argued the exception did not apply to the mass ballot measure that was "passed by a vote of over 52% of voters,” The AP said.

The plaintiffs cited nine donors to the marriage ban who had allegedly been affected by the disclosure, said the AP, but only one who would be unwilling to donate again to the campaign because of harassment.

According to Roman Porter, the executive director of the California Fair Political Practices Commission, "This clearly is a victory for the people of California and disclosure. The commission will continue to vigorously defend any suit brought against disclosure of campaign statements."