San Francisco – After securing a key ruling regarding the First Amendment from the Ninth Circuit, the ACLU of Northern California (ACLU-NC) yesterday produced documents relating to its efforts to defeat Proposition 8. The ACLU had sought to appeal an order requiring it to produce its No on 8 documents, arguing that the First Amendment should cover communications between groups working together on a political cause. The Ninth Circuit has now agreed with us that such communications are protected, but did not overturn an earlier district court ruling that required disclosure.
"After securing an important victory from the federal appeals court ensuring that non-public communications between organizations working together on a political cause are protected by the First Amendment, the ACLU of Northern California will turn over documents in Perry v. Schwarzenegger in order to clear the way for a decision in the case," said Elizabeth Gill, staff attorney at the ACLU of Northern California. "Ultimately, the Ninth Circuit has recognized the serious implications at stake for all coalition partners who come together around ballot measures and has made it clear that the private communications shared among coalition partners is protected speech."
While a small area of dispute remains regarding the application of the First Amendment privilege to ACLU of Northern California documents, the organization believes that the substantial delay that would result from a further appeal is far outweighed by the interest in a swift resolution of the underlying dispute – the right of same-sex couples to marry in California.