Prop 8 Supporters Say They’re Being Harassed; Challenge Campaign Finance Rules
January 9, 2009 - 6:21 AMCitizens who supported California's Proposition 8 say they are being systematically harassed because of disclosures required by California campaign finance laws.
A marriage protection group is now challenging the constitutionality of California campaign finance laws that compelled Prop 8 donors to submit personal information.
Prop 8, a voter initiative that passed in November, amended the California Constitution to say, “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”
Furious homosexual activists responded with heated demonstrations, some aimed at the Mormon Church. And according to the group that spearheaded Prop 8, some of the ballot measure’s supporters have received threats and insults from Prop 8 opponents.
"There has been a systematic attempt to intimidate, threaten and harass donors to the Proposition 8 campaign," said Ron Prentice, Chairman of ProtectMarriage.com.
On Thursday, the “ProtectMarriage.com-Yes on 8” committee filed a challenge in U.S. federal court, claiming that the harassment stems from campaign finance laws that require even $100 donors to list their names, home addresses and employers on public documents.
“These disclosure rules violate the U.S. constitution in numerous ways,” said Prentice. “We are standing up for our contributors to ensure that the harassment stops."
According to the lawsuit, groups such as Californians Against Hate exist for the primary purpose of identifying and taking action against supporters of Proposition 8.
The homosexual advocacy group says on its Web site it was established in July 2000 “to draw attention to the major donors to the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign” who spent millions of dollars “to take away the right of same-sex couples to marry.”
According to Californians Against Hate, “If our opponents want to take away our rights, then we will fight back. We will let the world know who these donors are, and then our millions of friends and allies can decide if they want to support their businesses or not.”
The Protect Marriage lawsuit cites examples of threatening and harassing emails, phone calls and postcards received by Prop 8 supporters, including:
"Burn in hell."
"Consider yourself lucky. If I had a gun I would have gunned you down along with each and every other supporter."
"I just wanted to call and let you know what a great picture that was of you and the other Nazi's [sic] in the newspaper....Don't worry though, we have plans for you and your friends."
The lawsuit also details acts of vandalism, property destruction, distribution of harassing flyers, and threats to ruin businesses employing Prop 8 donors.
"The United States Supreme Court has ruled that campaign disclosure laws can be invalidated if it subjects supporters to threats, harassment or reprisals from government, or private parties," Prentice said. "That is exactly what has happened with supporters of Proposition 8."
The suit alleges that California's Political Reform Act is unconstitutional on numerous grounds, including the following:
-- The right of contributors to exercise their First Amendment rights free from threats, harassment and reprisals outweighs the state's interest in compelled disclosure;
-- The Act's requirements that committees report all contributors of $100 or more is unconstitutionally overbroad in violation of the First Amendment because it is not narrowly tailored to serve a compelling government interest.
-- The Act's requirement for ballot measure committees to file any reports after the election is unconstitutional under the First Amendment because it is not narrowly tailored to serve a compelling government interest.
-- The Act is unconstitutional under the First Amendment because it does not contain a mechanism for purging all reports related to a ballot measure after the election has occurred.