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Court won't hear anti-gay marriage group appeal

Caption
(Pablo Martinez Monsivais (STF))
FILE - This Oct. 8, 2010 file photo shows the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court in a group portrait at the Supreme Court Building in Washington. The Supreme Court is embarking on a new term beginning Monday that could be as consequential as the last one with the prospect for major rulings about affirmative action, gay marriage and voting rights. Seated from left to right are: Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Standing, from left are: Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, Associate Justice Samuel Alito Jr., and Associate Justice Elena Kagan. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal from a national anti-gay marriage group that tried to thwart Maine's campaign disclosure law requiring it to release its donor list.

The high court turned aside an appeal from the National Organization for Marriage, which donated $1.9 million to a political action committee that helped repeal Maine's same-sex marriage law.

Maine's campaign disclosure law requires groups that raise or spend more than $5,000 to influence elections to register and disclose donors. NOM contends that releasing the donor list would stymie free speech and subject donors to harassment, but the lower court refused to throw out the law.

Voters repealed Maine's gay marriage law in 2009, but it's on the ballot again this November.

For now, the 2009 donor list remains under wraps.

The state ethics commission is still investigating whether NOM falls under the state's ballot question committee requirements, said its executive director, Jonathan Wayne.

"Today's decision by the Supreme Court is an important development, but no decision has been reached by the commission regarding the National Organization for Marriage's 2009 activities," he said.

Matt McTighe, campaign manager for Mainers United for Marriage, which supports the gay marriage proposal on the Nov. 6 ballot, said gay marriage supporters don't care so much about who's on NOM's list of donors but rather want the organization to play by the same rules as everybody else.

"It's not like we're dying to get those names. There's nothing about the list itself that's important," he said. "We just think they should play by the same rules as everyone else and disclose where their money comes from. If they're going to pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into the campaign like they did in 2009, the people of Maine should know where that money's coming from."

NOM, which didn't immediately return calls seeking comment from The Associated Press, is involved again in the gay marriage proposal this year. The organization already has transferred $250,000 to the Protect Marriage Maine political action committee, which opposes gay marriage.

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