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Preliminary ruling indicates release of Maine same-sex marriage donor names

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May 26, 2010

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AUGUSTA, Maine: In a preliminary ruling on Sunday, May 23, 2010, U.S. Magistrate Judge John Rich III said the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) should release documents relating to donors and fundraising. Documents, he said, should date back to January 1, 2009 and should be submitted to the Attorney General's office. However, donors names may not be made public and can only be shared with state officials. The order, however, is pending approval by a federal district judge.[1]

Only days later a challenge was filed by NOM lawyers in the U.S. District Court. According to reports the state must file a response by June 11, 2010. The organization argues that "disclosing personal donor information, even limited disclosure to opposing counsel, would have a substantial negative effect on the ability of NOM to raise funds."[1]

The Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices initially launched a fundraising investigation in October 2009. The investigation revolves around 2009's ballot measure - Maine Same-Sex Marriage People's Veto, Question 1. Specifically, the ethics commission is currently investigating whether the organization should have filed as a ballot question committee. However, the commission has requested donor names to verify donations. In early May NOM filed a federal lawsuit against the state in order to protect donor names.[2]

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