civil liberties

Why Is the ACLU Supporting In Prop 8 Suit?

Thought the ACLU was just an extension, or a repetitive megaphone, of Gay Inc.? Wrong. This organization just wants your civil liberties protected, no matter which side of the gay debate your on. And this time, they’re siding with Prop 8’s supporters.

As Perry v. Schwarzenegger makes its way through Judge Vaughn Walker’s court (trial begins Jan. 11), anti-equality group Protect Marriage/Yes On 8 — which tried and failed to have the suit dimissed — is trying to keep its internal campaign documents a secret. Judge Walked demanded those emails and memos be turned over to plaintiffs, who want to show the Prop 8 push was based in bigotry as they try to prove the ballot measure was based in discrimination.

And while the ACLU supports the federal Perry challenge, it’s also siding with Protect Marriage and attorney Charles Cooper (pictured). To protect free speech.

The ACLU’s Northern California chapter, which supports the lawsuit, nevertheless filed arguments with the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals saying the court-ordered disclosure could endanger people’s freedom to speak freely while planning political campaigns.

“Political advocacy and strategizing is inherently rough and tumble,” the ACLU told the court, which accepted the filing Tuesday shortly before hearing arguments in Pasadena on the disclosure issue.

“The people charged with running those campaigns cannot do so effectively while fearing that every proposal they float, every crazy idea they shoot down … will ultimately become fodder for their opponents,” said Stephen Bomse, a San Francisco attorney who represented the ACLU.

He also said Prop. 8’s backers have demanded similar campaign documents from the ACLU, which opposed the ballot measure.

Cooper’s, meanwhile, have taken the fight to keep the records secret to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, trying to block Walker’s demand they turn over the documents.