Free speech: Federal judge dismisses as premature anti-gay marriage group’s challenge to New York election law

The National Organization for Marriage lost its first skirmish in challenging the constitutionality of a New York law to expedite their bid to run ads favoring gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino. NOM says the law potentially violates the group’s free speech rights by creating too many burdens to running the ads. -db

On Top Magazine
October 26, 2010
By On Top Magazine Staff

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) cannot run ads supporting New York GOP gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino without disclosing its donors, a judge ruled Monday, New York’s WIVB Channel 4 reported.

U.S. District Judge Richard Arcana rejected NOM’s request to run pro-Paladino ads without registering with the state as a political committee, as required by New York law. The exemption would free the group from adhering to election law requirements governing political committees, including reporting donors’ names.

Arcana dismissed the challenge as premature because officials have yet to classify the group as a political committee. The organization said its lawsuit was an attempt to head off such a classification.

NOM has filed similar lawsuits in several other states, including Rhode Island and Florida.

NOM is currently running ads in support of anti-gay marriage candidates or attacking pro-gay marriage candidates in several states, including California, New Hampshire and Minnesota.

Earlier this month, Paladino created national headlines when he told a group of Orthodox Jewish leaders that his opposition to gay marriage stems from not wanting children “brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality” is acceptable and hammered his Democratic rival, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, for taking his children to a gay pride parade, which Paladino called “disgusting” and described as “extreme people in bikini outfits grinding at each other and doing these gyrations.”

Paladino initially defended his remarks, but after an avalanche of criticism from lawmakers, gay activists, and even his own party, he apologized, saying he was sorry “for any comment that may have offended the gay and lesbian community.” The apology cost the Tea Party favorite the endorsement of the orthodox rabbi who introduced him to the close-knit Jewish community.

Lawmakers in New York and Minnesota are expected to consider legalizing gay marriage next year.

NOM played a critical role in reversing gay marriage laws in California and Maine.

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