PUBLIC INFORMATION -- Attorneys trying to shield the names of donors to the Yes on
Proposition 8 campaign say a 9th Circuit ruling breathes new life into
their so-far unsuccessful efforts, reports The Recorder in San Francisco.

A three-judge panel in Seattle on Wednesday held that the state of
Montana went too far in requiring an East Helena church to publicly
disclose its financial involvement in a 2004 initiative campaign to ban
same-sex marriage.

    The church's in-kind contributions were so small -- initiative
petitions were placed in the church foyer; petition copies were made on
a church machine -- that forcing its leaders to file campaign
disclosure forms amounted to an unfair abridgement of the assembly's
First Amendment rights, Judge William Canby Jr. wrote in Canyon Ferry Road Baptist Church of East Helena Inc. v. Unsworth, 09 C.D.O.S. 2287.

    The panel did not suggest what level of contribution should trigger a campaign filing requirement.
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    James Bopp Jr., the Indiana attorney representing Yes on 8 donors, said the ruling has major implications for ProtectMarriage.com v. Bowen.
In that case, now before an Eastern District judge, Bopp argues that
the public disclosure of pro-Prop 8 donor names has subjected them to
ridicule, harassment and physical threats. 

    On Jan. 30, U.S. District Judge Morrison England Jr. denied the
donors' request for a preliminary injunction that would have shielded
their identities.

    Bopp said Thursday that he's preparing new pleadings in the case based on the 9th Circuit's ruling.   
    "The cavalry just came over the hillside," Bopp said.
    Roman Porter, executive director of the Fair Political Practices Commission, said his agency's lawyers were still reviewing the Canyon
ruling, and he declined to comment on Bopp's assertions. The FPPC,
along with the attorney general's office, is defending the state in the
donors' lawsuit.