An attorney based in California says that state's 2008 fight over Proposition 8 demonstrates the need for privacy laws to protect donors.
Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute says legislatures need to address the privacy concerns of donors who give to nonprofits and religious groups.
His comments come after the U.S. Supreme Court announced Nov. 9 that it won't hear an appeal of a California law that allows state government to scrutinize the internal operations of nonprofits, including their donor lists.
Dacus tells OneNewsNow that the Prop. 8 campaign showed how donations that are made public can be used to target and harass the donor.
A well-publicized case was now-former Sacramento theater director Scott Eckern, a Mormon who donated $1,000 to support Prop. 8.
The New York Times reported at the time that Eckern resigned from the California Musical Theatre "in the face of growing outrage over his support for a ballot measure this month that outlawed same-sex marriage in California."
The theater claimed it would not "impinge on the rights of its employees to engage in political activities," though the story quoted prominent homosexuals in the theater industry who refused to allow the theater to show their productions because of Eckern's donation.
After Prop. 8 passed, homosexuals stated publicly they were targeting the Mormon Church, which supported Prop. 8, and members such as Eckern.
An exhaustive list of Prop. 8 harassment by unhinged Prop. 8 opponents documented incidents ranging from damaged or stolen yard signs (see below) to crude and vulgar graffiti spray-painted on churches.
The story noted that California newspapers created search engines on their websites to help readers learn who was donating. A search engine at The Los Angeles Times, which is still online, allows a search by name and by employer.
One name that the search engine produces in California is Brendan Eich, the now-former CEO of Mozilla. He was forced to resign in 2014 from the company he co-founded for making a $1,000 donation.
Dacus predicts that business owners will refuse to support nonprofits for fear that they will lose business and be threatened.
"We already have a growing sense of intolerance in our society towards people with religious and traditional viewpoints and perspectives," Dacus says.