Advocacy Groups Lose Prop 8 Records Appeal

     (CN) – The 9th Circuit said it lacks jurisdiction to overturn a federal judge’s order forcing gay marriage advocacy groups to turn over their Proposition 8 campaign materials.

     Equality California, No on Proposition 8 and the Campaign for Marriage Equality appealed Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker’s order compelling them to produce internal campaign documents in the federal trial challenging Prop 8, California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.
     The organizations argued that their materials are protected by a First Amendment privilege shielding internal campaign communications.
     But the three-judge panel said the organizations can’t appeal Walker’s order until they have been held in contempt for failing to comply with it.
     The groups argued, alternatively, that the 9th Circuit can force the district court to adopt its reasoning in a December 2009 ruling allowing Prop 8 proponents to keep their identities secret.
     A writ of mandamus would not be appropriate, the 9th Circuit panel explained, because the groups “have not demonstrated that the district court’s ultimate conclusions were clearly erroneous as a matter of law.”
     Judge Walker is presiding over the first federal trial involving a challenge to a state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

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