It looks like Maine’s ethics panel didn’t buy the fact that Brian Brown just happened to be the executive director for NOM in 2009 and on the committee that led the Stand for Marriage Maine PAC and that NOM just happened to provide almost two thirds of the funding for the political action committee. NOM was fined $50,250 as a result of failing to properly register as a ballot question committee. NOM thought they were getting around a law requiring them to register and disclose the names of their donors because they didn’t let donors tell them that they wanted to use the funds to influence voting on a ballot question. Investigators for the ethics panel found that NOM “intentionally set up its fundraising strategy to avoid disclosure laws” NOM plans to appeal the fine, probably because they feel like they haven’t lost enough this month. Litigation could go on for another year.
Oh, Ellen Rosenblum, people can find some lawyers to be terrifying, and you are certainly no exception. You announced that you wouldn’t defend Oregon’s ban on marriage equality back in February, and that mere statement had members of NOM so terrified that they had to wait until 48 hours before an April hearing to file a motion to intervene in the case. Now that their big, exciting day of being able to stand in front of Judge Michael McShane has arrived, they can’t find anyone willing to testify that they have been or could be harmed by the repeal of Oregon’s anti-equality laws, citing “grave concerns about possible threats, harassment, and retaliation should they do so.” In their brief, NOM claims to be the only person or organization willing to stand up for Oregonians who feel their voting rights are being trampled on. They claim that the Attorney General’s refusal to defend the law in court has created a climate in Oregon that will result in any of these county clerks, voters, or local business owners being tarred and feathered if they stand up for the discriminatory laws or something.
The National Organization for Marriage found out that Oregon’s attorney general Ellen Rosenblum wouldn’t defend the state’s definition of marriage as one man and one woman in court back in January with the rest of us. They knew nobody had filed any friend of the court briefs supporting the state’s ban on marriage equality. They found out when oral arguments were scheduled to begin with the rest of us. So why couldn’t they file the motion to intervene more than 48 hours before oral arguments were scheduled to begin?
As an added attempt to endear himself and his organization to the judge, NOM chairman John Eastman sent out a press release where he questioned Judge Michael McShane’s impartiality due to the fact that he is an openly gay judge.
Judge McShane has decided to continue with oral arguments as scheduled. He will consider NOM’s motion and will hold oral arguments for that issue on May 14th.