The National Organization for Marriage has been fighting to keep its donors list confidential for three years. The group spent $1.9 million in 2009 in a successful bid to influence voters to overturn a bill allowing same-sex couples to wed in Maine.
Maine officials and others contend voters have the right to know who is financing public referendum campaigns. The organization was the largest donor in the anti-gay marriage vote.
MaineToday Media reported the nation's highest court declined to hear the organization's appeal of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling that upheld a Maine law requiring groups that spend more than $5,000 to influence ballot question elections to register with the Maine Ethics Commission.
"The key for us is NOM should have to play by the same rules as everybody else," said David Farmer, spokesman for Mainers United for Marriage, a group seeking legalized same-sex marriage. "If they come into the state of Maine and spend millions of dollars, they should have to disclose the source of that money."
It has yet to be decided whether NOM is actually covered under Maine's "ballot question committee" rules.
Jonathan Wayne, executive director of the Maine Ethics Commission, said the Supreme Court's decision not to take up the issue "is a helpful development because it is another affirmation that our campaign finance laws are constitutional."
MaineToday said the organization said Monday it had created a website, keeptherepublicandmarriage.com, where donors could "trumpet their support for NOM's work in defense of traditional marriage."
"Even though donors to NOM are not subject to public disclosure, a number of our donors wanted to show that they would not be bullied and were not afraid to publicly proclaim their support for NOM as a way of encouraging others to publicly stand up to support marriage," NOM President Brian Brown said in a statement.
"These key donors were inspired by the courage of Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-Fil-A, who resolutely told Americans that he unabashedly believed in God's design for marriage as the union of one man and one woman."