Federal judge orders Prop 8 supporters to disclose internal campaign strategies

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October 2, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO, California: U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn Walker has ordered the sponsors of Proposition 8 to provide private emails, memos and reports to the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which filed a federal lawsuit that seeks to overturn Proposition 8.

Vaughn says that the confidential communications between the campaign's leaders and professional consultants could reveal what their rationale was for wanting to deny gays the right to marry. That rationale may be relevant to how he rules in the case, which is why the judge thinks the records are relevant.[1]

Attorneys for Protect Marriage may appeal the ruling. Attorney Andy Pugno says the mandated disclosure, if allowed to stand, may have a chilling effect on the willing of people in the future to conduct ballot initiative campaigns. "Giving the losing side of a campaign this level of information will discourage anyone from ever attempting to use the initiative process in the future, knowing that sensitive strategies will likely all become public if they prevail. It just seems like Alice in Wonderland for me, that we would get to a place that a consequence of winning an election is that you would have to open your play book."

Christopher Dusseault, an attorney for two couples who seek in the federal lawsuit to have Prop 8 overturned, said Walker's ruling makes sense, arguing, "Their argument that documents about campaign strategy and rejected campaign messages being irrelevant, simply because they weren't sent to voters at large, is an argument he rejected."