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Judge upholds Maine campaign finance challenge brought by anti-gay NOM

Sunday, February 20, 2011
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A federal judge has ruled that Maine’s campaign finance disclosure law is constitutional, rejecting a challenge by the National Organization for Marriage over its refusal to disclose the identities of donors who contributed to its anti-gay marriage campaign.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge D. Brock Hornby granted a summary judgment upholding the constitutionality of Maine’s election disclosure laws.

Maine’s campaign finance law requires groups that raise, or spend, more than $5,000 to influence elections, to register with the state and disclose donors who make contributions of $100 or more.

The NOM spent $1.9 million dollars in a successful campaign to overturn Maine’s same-sex marriage law in 2009, but failed to report the names of its donors.

When an Ethics Commission had determined that the NOM was required to disclose the identities of those donors who contributed to its anti-gay marriage campaign, the group refused, and filed suit on grounds that Maine’s requirements were unconstitutional.

The NOM argued that Maine’s law wrongly treats ballot question committees the same as political action committees, and that requirement for such entities to disclose all contributors giving over $100 dollars is overly burdensome.

The 22-page decision rejected the NOM’s arguments, and concluded that Maine’s disclosure law is constitutional.

“I conclude finally that this Maine law is constitutional,” Hornby wrote.

The National Organization for Marriage has opposed laws allowing same-sex marriage in states across the country, including Maine and California.

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