Opponents of California’s constitutional ban on same-sex “marriage” have just found out that their success in gaining access to the campaign memos of the pro-family groups defending Prop. 8 has gone further than they intended.
The federal judge hearing the landmark Perry v. Schwarzenegger case has now ruled that lawyers defending Prop. 8 will also have their turn to examine their opponents’ campaign memos, and use them as evidence to support their arguments for the constitutionality of the state marriage amendment approved by voters in 2008.
U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker affirmed the ruling by Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero, which said that Equality California and the American Civil Liberties Union, both opponents of the ban, must surrender tens of thousands of campaign emails exchanged among No on Prop. 8 groups, so that the legal team defending the California same-sex “marriage” ban can see if they contain any evidence that would bolster their case.
The ruling is a major twist of irony, since the ACLU and Equality California would not be facing scrutiny over their campaign memos had they not demanded the federal court order the release of “Yes on 8”’s campaign documents. The groups fighting the marriage amendment said they needed the opposing side’s documents in order to help them demonstrate that an anti-homosexual “animus” motivated the ban on same-sex “marriage,” making the ban unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment.
Equality California and the ACLU appealed the original ruling to Walker – potentially considering him sympathetic as a homosexual judge – before whom they argued that their internal communications were irrelevant to the case. Attorneys defending Prop. 8 argued that the ACLU and Equality California memos would help demonstrate why a ban on same-sex “marriage” was necessary, and would prove that political power of homosexuals makes them anything but a powerless group.
But the homosexualist groups also protested that their campaign memos were protected by the First Amendment, and resorted to arguments that the Yes on 8 campaign had used to justify the protection of their own campaign documents and internal communications.
However, Walker explained that the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals “determined that campaign documents may lead to discovery of admissible evidence.” He also added that the circuit court’s decision was not limited to “the side that succeeded in persuading voters.”
Walker also further explained that the standard applied by the court only went so far as to protect the internal memos shared by a “core group of individuals” within a group – anything else was fair game. “The standard does not protect campaign communications that are not private and internal,” the judge ruled.
The ACLU and Equality California have appealed the decision to the 9th Circuit Court. If Walker’s decision stands, the groups will have to comply with the magistrate’s order that they hand over non-privileged documents by March 31.
Walker said pro-family attorneys defending Prop. 8 will have until April 12 to submit evidence, before he schedules closing arguments.
Read full ruling here (via Courthouse News)