High court won't hear appeal from Maine pro-marriage group

by Les Sillars
Posted 10/01/12, 04:26 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal from the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) after a federal court upheld Maine’s campaign disclosure law requiring the pro-family organization to release its donor list, but it’s unlikely the list will be made public soon.

NOM had donated $1.9 million to a political action committee that helped repeal Maine's same-sex “marriage” law in 2009. The issue is on the ballot again for the Nov. 6 election, and NOM last month announced it had donated $250,000 to the campaign. It's also registered as a political action committee, the National Organization for Marriage Maine PAC, to oppose the referendum.

Maine's campaign disclosure law requires groups that raise or spend more than $5,000 to influence elections to register and disclose donors. NOM contends that releasing the donor list would stymie free speech and subject donors to harassment, but the lower court refused to throw out the law.

For now, the 2009 donor list remains under wraps. The head of the Maine ethics commission and an assistant attorney general said it's unlikely it'll be released any time soon while a separate case makes its way through the state court system.

Matt McTighe, campaign manager for Mainers United for Marriage, which supports the same-sex “marriage” proposal on the ballot, said he and other supporters just want the organization to play by the same rules as everybody else.

"It's not like we're dying to get those names,” he said. “If they're going to pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into the campaign like they did in 2009, the people of Maine should know where that money's coming from."

Still, NOM has reason for concern, given the backlash donors to pro-marriage causes have suffered elsewhere, such as during the referendum on Proposition 8 in California in 2009. According to a study from The Heritage Foundation, homosexual activists subjected supporters of the measure limiting marriage to heterosexual relationships to “harassment, intimidation, vandalism, racial scapegoating, blacklisting, loss of employment, economic hardships, angry protests, violence, at least one death threat, and gross expressions of anti-religious bigotry.”

NOM President Brian Brown was traveling Monday and not immediately available for comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Les Sillars

Les directs the journalism program at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Va., and is WORLD Magazine’s Mailbag editor.

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