Archive for January, 2009

News Release on Federal Court Ruling re Prop 8 Contributors

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

SACRAMENTO (AP) – Federal judge denies request to keep donors to California’s anti-gay marriage initiative secret.

Statement by Fred Karger, Founder of Californians Against Hate regarding today’s Federal Court Ruling on Proposition 8 Contributors:

The Court today did the right thing by upholding California’s 35 year old Political Reform Act. The law requires that all contributors of $100 and above to state campaigns be reported and available to the public. Every California campaign has abided by this law for over three decades.

It is truly unfortunate that in the heat of a campaign donors are subjected to any undue attention. This has sadly been the case on both sides of last November’s highly emotional Proposition 8 campaign. But the law passed by the voters in 1974 has served our state well all these years and must remain in place.

The Executive Board of ProtectMarriage.com, who filed this lawsuit, sent a letter to many major donors to No on 8 – Equality California threatening to expose them and take action against their companies unless they gave to the Yes on 8 campaign. Now they complain of harassment?

Gay and lesbian donors fighting several anti gay initiatives in California beginning with the 1978 Briggs Initiative (Prop 6) have contributed to these campaigns in fear of job loss and being outed to their families. No exemption from the law was ever requested.

The Mormon Church and all the other major supporters of Proposition 8 knew the law when they qualified their Constitutional Amendment for the November ballot and must abide by it. The Mormon Church basically required over 60,000 of its members throughout the country to give nearly $25 million to take away the right to marry for same-sex couples in California. After winning their very deceitful campaign by only 4% points, they now hoped to keep the names secret of another 6,600 donors who must be reported on Monday, February 2nd. This is despicable.

The Mormon Church is currently under an active investigation by the California Fair Political Practices Commission – FPPC (Case # 080735) for allegedly not reporting what could amount to be hundreds of thousands of dollars of non monetary contributions to the Yes on 8 campaign. While this investigation is underway, their law suit named FPPC Chairman Ross Johnson and the other four Commissioners as defendants. Also named were California Attorney General Jerry Brown and Secretary of State Debra Bowen.

Well, if the Salt Lake City based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is going to be that involved California elections, they have to play by the rules. What is the Mormon Church trying to hide?

The Mormon Church is not a named plaintiff in the Federal lawsuit, and through its spokeswoman even denied knowledge of its existence, it certainly must be behind it. They have clearly been the focus of the post election unhappiness.

The Mormon Church is in the midst of a self admitted PR offensive to resuscitate its wounded image as a result of their heavy handed involvement in the Yes on Prop 8 campaign (see ABC’s Nightline segment from January 9, 2009 http://www.truveo.com/Mormon-Leaders-Russell-Ballard-and-Quentin-Cook-on/id/696616726 ). This lawsuit is clearly an attempt by the Church to demonize its opponents, while having others front for them. They have a long and documented history of this type of activity.

We, like all millions of other Californians, applaud the Court’s decision today, and look forward to reviewing the thousands of additional donors to both sides of the Prop 8 campaign when the report comes out on Monday.
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Mormon Fight Over Disclosure of Prop. 8 Donors

Monday, January 26th, 2009

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California’s attorney general and election watchdogs are fighting back against a federal lawsuit seeking to bar disclosure of late donors to the state’s same-sex marriage ban.Attorney General Jerry Brown, Secretary of State Debra Bowen and the Fair Political Practices Commission jointly filed arguments this week opposing the suit by the Proposition 8 campaign.Ross Johnson, FPPC chairman, said Friday that the suit is “out to destroy campaign finance disclosure by a death-of-a-thousand cuts. I don’t intend to let that happen on my watch.”U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. is set to hear oral arguments Thursday.

The suit seeks a court order exempting Proposition 8 committees from identifying people who donated shortly before or after the Nov. 4 election. Previous contributors already have been named.California’s Political Reform Act, approved by voters in 1974, requires disclosure of the name, occupation and employer of anyone contributing $100 or more to campaigns.The suit challenges the constitutionality of the disclosure requirement, claiming donors to Proposition 8 have been ravaged by e-mails, phone calls and postcards even death threats.Ron Prentice, chairman of Yes on 8, contends that hundreds of people have alleged harassment, intimidation or threats. Attorneys for Proposition 8 assert that First Amendment rights to be free from retaliation outweigh the state’s interest in disclosure.

Brown, Bowen and the FPPC counter that disclosure requirements assist the state in detecting efforts to hide the identities of large donors and illegal spending of political funds for personal use.”Political democracy demands open debate, including prompt disclosure of the identities of campaign donors,” Brown said in a written statement.Victims of harassment should sue or file criminal charges not strip election records to “carve out a special privilege of anonymity for themselves alone,” he said.Noting that Proposition 8 attracted 36,000 contributions totaling $30 million, the state contends no clear evidence exists that the measure was hurt by fear of reprisal.That argument misses the point, attorney James Bopp Jr. said, because harassment occurred only after donors sent their money.

Bopp said the state has no compelling reason to disclose donations as low as $100.”Surely, there’s no one in the state who would be influenced to vote for or against an initiative because Joe Blow gave $100,” he said.Since balloting for Proposition 8 is over, there is no way that keeping names confidential could affect the outcome, Bopp added.The suit would not bar investigations of misspending because the state could obtain donors’ names by auditing campaign committees, without making them public, he said.If successful, the suit would apply only to Yes on 8 committees. Besides barring disclosure of late donors, it would ban the public from viewing names previously released.

Rick Warren Coverage — Media Matters Set the Record Straight

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

Reporting on Warren’s invocation, NY Times repeatedly ignored his comparison of same-sex marriage to incest, pedophilia, polygamy

Summary: In separate articles, The New York Times mischaracterized opposition to the selection of Rev. Rick Warren to deliver the inaugural invocation as a function solely of Warren’s opposition to same-sex marriage or same-sex marriage and abortion. In fact, Warren has compared same-sex marriage to incest, pedophilia, and polygamy.

County Fair: A Media Blog brought to you bt Eric Boehlert and Jamison Foser.


In January 19 and January 20 articles, The New York Times mischaracterized opposition to the selection of Rev. Rick Warren to deliver the inaugural invocation as a function solely of Warren’s opposition to same-sex marriage or same-sex marriage and abortion. Neither article noted that Warren has compared same-sex marriage to incest, pedophilia, and polygamy. By contrast, a January 21 Boston Globe article about Warren’s invocation noted Warren “compared gay relationships to incest and polygamy,” and a January 21 Los Angeles Times editorial about same-sex marriage noted that Warren “has infuriated many by equating homosexual unions with incest, child molestation and polygamy.”

Similarly, a January 20 USA Today
article about the invocation delivered by “[c]ontroversial evangelical pastor Rick Warren” reported that he “has been excoriated for weeks by gay rights activists outraged that a leading opponent of gay marriage had been offered a national podium by Obama” but did not note Warren’s comments.

As Media Matters for America has
noted, in a Beliefnet.com interview, Warren compared same-sex marriage to “having a brother and sister being together and calling that marriage … an older guy marrying a child and calling that marriage [or] … one guy having multiple wives and calling that marriage.”

From the January 20 Times
article, headlined “Few Protesters at Inauguration”:

Some advocates of gay rights booed when the Rev. Rick Warren of California’s Saddleback Church delivered the invocation. Mr. Warren, one of the nation’s best-known evangelical preachers, opposes gay marriage. He spoke at Mr. Obama’s invitation. About 100 people rallied outside his church in Lake Forest, Calif., on Monday to protest his inclusion in the inaugural ceremonies.

From the January 19 Times article, headlined “Transition Holds Clues to How Obama Will Govern”:
Mr. Obama opted not to play it safe during the transition. He brought his Democratic rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton, into the cabinet, and angered gay and liberal supporters by inviting the Rev. Rick Warren, an opponent of abortion and same-sex marriage, to give the inaugural invocation. Although Mr. Obama deferred foreign affairs with his “one president at a time” rule, that did not apply to domestic policy, where he lobbied Congress to release $350 billion in financial bailout money and set about negotiating roughly $800 billion in spending programs and tax breaks.

From the January 20 USA Today article:

Controversial evangelical pastor Rick Warren opened Barack Obama’s inaugural ceremony Tuesday by touching on the two greatest prayers in Judaism and Christianity and asking God to grace the nation with clarity, responsibility and civility, “even when we differ.”
Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., has been excoriated for weeks by gay rights activists outraged that a leading opponent of gay marriage had been offered a national podium by Obama.
—A.J.W.