Anti-Gay Marriage Group Wants|Exemption From Campaign Law

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (CN) – The National Organization for Marriage, which opposes same-sex marriage, claims Florida’s campaign law unconstitutionally chills its right to free speech. The nonprofit, which describes itself as nonpartisan, claims it should be excused from “a panoply of burdens: including registration, recordkeeping and extensive reporting requirements,” because complying with those burdens “would simply not be worth it”.

     The group has filed similar lawsuits in Maine, New York and California.
     In its federal complaint in Florida, NOM says it intends to spend more than $5,000 in Florida to publish ads on radio, television, by direct mail and on the Internet against candidates for the Florida Legislature who it believes support same-sex marriage legislation.
     “NOM does not wish to reveal the candidates’ names in this complaint, because it does not wish to divulge its strategy at this early date,” the complaint states.
     It says it fears that without court intervention, the Florida Secretary of State will use the state’s campaign law to stymie its efforts.
     “The weight of these burdens [registering with the state, recordkeeping, and reporting under the Florida campaign law] is such that the speech would simply not be worth it for NOM,” the complaint states. “NOM does not want to bear these political-committee burdens that Florida imposes under the electioneering-communications-organization label.”
     Earlier this year, the 1st Circuit ruled against NOM, affirming a ruling that the group had to hand over donor information related to its effort to overturn Massachusetts same-sex marriage law.
     NOM’s lead counsel is Horatio Mihet with Liberty Counsel in Orlando.

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