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Citizens United: Good for Gay Rights?

Posted Sep 19, 2011 11:07 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling has gotten lots of attention for its holding that corporations have a First Amendment right to support political candidates. But little attention has been paid to a section of the 2010 decision upholding campaign disclosure requirements.

The Supreme Court’s support for transparency wasn’t lost on the lower courts, however. At least nine courts have cited the ruling to reject challenges to disclosure laws, the New York Times reports. In particular, courts have ruled against gay-marriage opponents seeking to keep supporters and spending private. “Put another way,” the story says, “you can make the argument that Citizens United has been good for gay rights.”

The National Organization for Marriage, represented by campaign finance opponent James Bopp Jr., lost a pair of disclosure decisions last month in a ruling by the Boston-based 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The group, which opposes gay marriage, had challenged disclosure laws in Maine and Rhode Island.

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