ADF Moves To Protect Californians Who Supported Proposition 8

Inside the Issues with Alan Sears

Alan Sears, Esquire

ADF President, CEO, & General Counsel

January 20, 2009

California's campaign finance laws probably seemed like a good idea when first enacted.  To keep the election process transparent, the state requires a public record of anyone who supports a political campaign, even if their gift is as relatively small as $100.  The problem is that the records, posted on the Secretary of State's website, lists not only these donors' names, but their place of employment and other personal information.

That kind of publicity opens up a huge breech in the wall of privacy, and in the emotional aftermath of last fall's vote on Proposition 8 – which legally restored marriage as the union of one man and one woman in California – opponents of the proposition have seized on these public records to track down, harass, and mercilessly persecute those who gave their financial support to the measure.

Over the last two months, many of those supporters have seen their homes and churches vandalized, been forced to resign their jobs, and been threatened with violence and even death.

"Putting the names and employers of the people who supported Proposition 8 on the Internet for anyone to see has caused serious problems," said James Bopp, Jr., lead attorney for the supporters of Proposition 8. "No one should worry about getting a death threat because of the way he or she votes."

To protect those under continuing threat of attack, ADF and our allies filed a lawsuit on January 6 on behalf of and the National Organization for Marriage California, asking that the state be required to stop posting the names and personal information of voters who gave money to support Proposition 8.

"This lawsuit will protect the right of all people to help support causes they agree with, without having to worry about harassment or threats," said Bopp about the lawsuit that will be heard in U.S. District Court on January 29.

"Our laws should ensure free participation in the democratic process, and not result in compromising the free speech and association rights guaranteed to all Americans," said ADF Legal Counsel Tim Chandler, who is serving as local counsel in the case. "Citizens shouldn't have to choose between being involved in the democratic process and subjecting themselves to acts of vengeance."

A copy of the current complaint filed with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, Sacramento Division, in the lawsuit v. Bowen is available at

Please be in prayer for this case on January 29, and for all those who are standing courageously in California for the protection of marriage and the First Amendment right of all citizens to speak freely…not only in print or in the pulpit, at the microphone or in casual conversation, but also with their votes and financial contributions.