A federal judge has ordered gay
advocacy groups to surrender documents related to Proposition 8, the
gay marriage ban narrowly approved by California voters in 2008.
The AP is reporting that Chief US
District Judge Vaughn Walker has upheld a magistrate judge's ruling
requiring pro-gay marriage groups to hand over Proposition 8 campaign
materials to defendants in the high-profile trial considering the
ban's constitutionality. Walker made a similar ruling before the
January start of the trial, ordering defendants to turn over some
documents related to the campaign.
The American Civil Liberties Union and
Equality California, the state's largest gay advocate and the lead
group behind the campaign against the gay marriage ban, had argued
that the documents are confidential internal communications protected
by the First Amendment as political speech.
In his 24-page ruling released Monday,
Walker disagreed and gave the groups until April 12 to comply.
“To the extent the ACLU and Equality
California argue the magistrate's order imposes an undue burden on
them, they have failed to substantiate the burden,” Walker wrote.
The ACLU has suggested it would appeal
the ruling to the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, a move
likely to delay closing arguments in the trial, which Walker has yet
Plaintiffs argued in January that
Proposition 8 violates their constitutional rights. It is the first
federal case to consider the constitutionality of a gay marriage ban
and is expected to reach the Supreme Court.