The National Organization for Marriage
(NOM) on Thursday lost its fight to keep secret its donors from the
2009 people's veto campaign that repealed Maine's gay marriage law.
The Maine Supreme Judicial Court
unanimously upheld a lower court's ruling against NOM.
NOM had argued that handing over the
names to election officials would violate donors' First Amendment
rights and possibly leave them exposed to “threats, harassment and
reprisal,” the Bangor
Daily News reported.
Maine Attorney General Janet Mills
applauded the ruling, saying that “the public has a right to know
who wrote the checks in the amount of nearly $2 million that went
through NOM into the Stand for Marriage Maine” campaign.
According to the ruling, the Maine
Commission on Government Ethics and Elections Practices asked for the
donor names “to evaluate the oral communications NOM made in
soliciting donations during the 2009 election season, a critical
issue in determining NOM's compliance with Maine's campaign laws.”
Fred Karger of Rights Equal Rights
filed the original complaint against NOM which triggered the case.
“NOM has worked overtime to demonize
the LGBT community and deny us our full equality, while refusing to
reveal where all its millions of dollars to do so come from,”
Karger said in a statement. “Now we will finally find out.”
After lawmakers legalized marriage for
gay and lesbian couples in 2009, opponents took it down by putting it
to a “people's veto.” Supporters returned to the ballot box last
year and won. Maine became a marriage equality state on January 1,