Friday, June 18, 2010

Ethical problems in the fight against equality

In California, the Fair Political Practices Committee has fined the Mormons for failing to admit they had institutionally supported Proposition 8 by providing staff. It's only a bit more than $5000 but it's something to get them to admit it, even though they call it "an oversight".

Now I'd like to see more aggressive attention paid to the Roman Catholics and that nasty bishop Salvatore Cordileone who expressed such relish in attacking us.

In Maine, our friends at the hate-group NOM claim that they should be free of the reporting rules of Maine's election laws. Which in fact they consider "unconstitutional". Maine is one of those pesky states that expects to know who is donating money to campaigns there. NOM tried to appeal the decision, claiming its donors would be harassed (another example of the "violence" meme that the rightwingers claim as a justification for wearing a hood). That appeal was denied. As the Portland Press Herald says, approving the decision,
[The Magistrate's] ruling is not likely the last word on this subject. NOM's refusal to refuse to file reports with the state led the ethics commission to open an investigation into the group's actions, and it could continue to fight release of the information.

What is important is establishing that national groups should not be able to come to the state and make their own rules regarding transparency in election campaigns. If you choose to participate in this Maine campaign, you should abide by Maine's rules.
Except for marriage equality opponents, who claim in California, Washington, Iowa, and Maine that the rules don't apply to them.

And in a second blow, the 1st District court in Boston has now rejected NOM's attempt to block release, although the names will only be released to the state of Maine, not made public.

The speculative testimony set forth in the affidavits Appellant-Petitioners [NOM] offered does not establish a significant risk of chill stemming from disclosure severely limited by the entry of a strict litigation protective order.

Moreover, Appellees [Maine]have a compelling interest in defending Maine's election laws against charges of unconstitutionality. ... In this case, that interest extends to review of the documents in question. In framing some of their underlying constitutional challenges to Maine's election laws, Appellant-Petitioners have made relevant the issue of whether NOM has as one its primary purposes the influencing of ballot questions and/or candidate elections. We conclude that the materials in question have the potential to be highly relevant to that issue, and we see no less restrictive means for Appellees to probe the issue than by reviewing the materials under the auspices of the strict protective order to which Appellees have consented. Accordingly, pursuant to Local Rule 27.0(c) we summarily AFFIRM the ruling of the district court. Because Appellant-Petitioners have not demonstrated "a clear entitlement to the relief requested," mandamus relief is DENIED......The stay entered by this court on May 28, 2010, is hereby LIFTED. (source)

Remember that based on Washington, they have actually got a case before the Supreme Court saying that uniquely for marriage equality, campaign transparency laws should not apply.

If you aren't outraged at this effort of these bigots to hide their bigotry, you really aren't paying attention.

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