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Judge: Prop 8 Supporters Must Release Info

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Backers of California's Proposition 8 must turn over campaign strategy documents in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the antigay ballot measure, a federal judge ruled late Friday.

Attorneys for Protect Marriage, which is defending Prop. 8 in federal court, attempted to delay the disclosure of campaign documents, citing a violation of free speech, while they challenge the order in the appeals court. But in the ruling, U.S. district court judge Vaughn R. Walker (shown above) said the group had failed to give sufficient evidence as to why certain campaign information was too sensitive to be disclosed.

Attorneys seeking to strike down Prop. 8 in federal court, led by former U.S. solicitor general Theodore Boies, have requested the documents for evidence of antigay bias in the 2008 ballot measure passed by California voters that stripped same-sex couples of marriage rights in the state.

Judge Walker's ruling is the second blow in two weeks to marriage equality opponents. On October 15, he ruled against a motion to dismiss the suit, which is scheduled to go to trial on January 11.

Walker's order for document disclosure angered many prominent anti-marriage equality activists, including Institute for Marriage and Public Policy president Maggie Gallagher, who wrote in the National Review that the move was "judicial harassment" and "one-sided to the extreme."

Chad Griffin, board president of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which is funding the suit, said in a statement that his organization expects "the defendants to do everything they can to throw this case offtrack, but so far we are still on a rapid course toward trial."

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