Minnesota Closes Loophole That Antigay Groups Had Exploited

By Lucas Grindley

Originally published on Advocate.com October 05 2011 2:43 PM ET

A Minnesota election board has closed a loophole that let individuals anonymously fund an anti–marriage equality campaign in the state. But groups like the National Organization for Marriage already threaten to ignore the new rules.

The Associated Press reports that the state's Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board approved a new "statement of guidance" Tuesday that would apply to the fight over a proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. The ban is on the state's 2012 ballot.

Groups like Minnesota for Marriage are already required by state law to disclose individual donors, but the new rules stop allowing them to accept donations from NOM unless it also discloses the donors who provided the cash.

As it has claimed in other states, NOM argues that people who want to stop same-sex marriage are afraid of becoming the target of backlash, which discourages them from donating. NOM has filed legal challenges to disclosure rules in other states and lost, but it appears to want to try again in Minnesota.

NOM's attorney, Cleta Mitchell, sent a letter to the election board ahead of its decision on Tuesday, alleging the change would "represent a breathtaking disregard of longstanding legal precedent." She called the proposal a "'make-it-up-as-we-go-along' restructuring of Minnesota campaign finance law."







The most recent loss for NOM came in Maine, where it funded a successful 2009 crusade for a same-sex marriage ban. Judge after judge ruled that NOM is required to release the names of its donors and a federal appeals court in September finally stopped the case from going any further.