Monday, February 27, 2012

U. S. Supreme Court Refuses NOM Appeal of Maine Campaign Disclosure Law

Time and time again the folks at the National Organization for Marriage ("NOM") have demonstrated that they consider themselves above the law and refused to comply with campaign finance disclosure laws in states as varied as Washington State to Maine. In each state NOM has challenged the state campaign finance laws that require the disclosure of contributors. Now, in NOM's lawsuit that started out in Maine has hit a dead end. The U. S. Supreme Court has refused to accept NOM's appeal from the U. S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. With now other avenues of appeal one can only hope that NOM will be forced to disclose the names of its donors. Why is this important? Because (i) it would likely show that NOM is supported by only a handful of big donors contrary to NOM's claims that it is a broad grass roots organization, and (ii) the likely linkage between NOM and the Roman Catholic and possibly Mormon Church would be laid bare. Here are highlights from

[T]he Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a constitutional challenge to a Maine law that requires those seeking to raise and spend money in state election campaigns to organize as a political action committee for that activity, and make significant disclosures about their financial operations. That was challenged in a petition, National Organization for Marriage v. McKee (11-599), after the state law was upheld by the First Circuit Court. The NOM is an organization set up to promote the traditional view of marriage as being reserved solely for opposite-sex couples. It argued in challenging the PAC requirement that states do not have the constitutional authority to impose such obligations unless an organization has election campaign activity as its “major purpose.”

Think Progress also reports on this potentially huge defeat for NOM and its secretive financial backers. Here are some highlights:

Though this may be perceived as a non-event, it represents a huge defeat for the anti-gay organization’s secrecy and as well as its self-victimizing claims that supporters of “traditional marriage” are persecuted for their beliefs. NOM was one of the top fundraisers supporting Maine’s Question 1 in 2009, a people’s veto of marriage equality legislation that ended up passing. For three years, NOM has used this lawsuit to keep the sources of its funding hidden, but now the organization has no other avenues to appeal, having lost every step of the way.

Though their identities remain unknown, NOM has a select group of donors that fund most of its operations. In the meantime, it purports to have a broad base of “members,” even though it doesn’t collect any money from membership dues. It is particularly fortuitous that NOM faces this loss in addition to its similar setback in Washington state, as both states are planning for referenda to approve marriage equality this year. Unfortunately for Brian Brown, John Eastman, Maggie Gallagher, and the rest of the NOM crew, free speech does not come without the cost of accountability, and the world might soon see just how NOM has paid for its.

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