(CN) – Sponsors of California’s ban on gay marriage do not have to turn over internal campaign documents and advertising strategies as part of a lawsuit seeking to overturn Proposition 8, the 9th Circuit ruled.
The panel reversed a trial judge’s decision earlier this month that ordered Protect Marriage’s attorneys to turn over lawyers’ e-mails, strategy memos and other information to a pair of gay couples who are challenging the voter-approved measure that defines marriage in California as being between a man and a woman.
The couples say Prop 8 should be overturned because its passage demonstrates a bias against gays and lesbians and violates their First Amendment rights. Trial begins Jan. 11.
The Circuit found that Protect Marriage was correct in claiming that the release of the documents “would likely have a chilling effect on political association and the formation of political expression.”
“The freedom to associate with others for the common advancement of political beliefs and ideas lies at the heart of the First Amendment,” the Circuit wrote.