Gay Marriage Donors Forced Out of Closet

A federal judge on Thursday denied a request to keep the names of donors to California's anti-gay marriage initiative secret, saying the public has a right to know who's giving money to state ballot measures.

Supporters of the initiative, which was approved by voters in November, had sought a preliminary injunction to hide the identities of those who contributed to their campaign.

They asked the judge to block the release of late donors, who will be included in a report scheduled to be released publicly on Monday.

They also asked him to order the state to remove the names of all contributors to Proposition 8, which overturned a state Supreme Court ruling allowing gay marriage.

U.S. District Judge Morrison England Jr. sided with the state. In his ruling from the bench, England said California's campaign disclosure laws are intended to protect the public and are especially important during expensive initiative campaigns.

"If there's ever a need to bring sunshine on a political issue, it is with a ballot measure," England said.

He said many campaign committees have vague names, obscuring their intent. The public would have no way of knowing who is behind the campaigns unless they can see who's giving money, he said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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