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Catholic opponent to amendment banning gay marriage can remain anonymous, agency decides

  • Blog Post by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger
  • August 17, 2012 - 3:18 PM

A man, now known only as John Doe, told the Minnesota campaign finance board that he believes he would be fired from his Catholic employer if it became known that he gave money to the group opposing the marriage amendment.

The campaign finance agency believed him and therefore, in an unusual move, granted him anonymity, despite his $600 contribution to Minnesota United for All Families.

The agency's decision exposes the strong feelings rampant about the proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and a rift about it even inside the Catholic Church.

The Church has strongly supported the move to pass the amendment, collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars for the campaign backing it and told clergy not to dissent from its pro-amendment stance.

In making its decision, release Friday, the state campaign finance agency examined the case of Trish Cameron, a former teacher at a Catholic School in Moorhead. Cameron told agency officials that she had revealed to her supervisors during a private annual self-evaluation that she personally objected to the Church's opposition to same-sex marriage, although she would said she would not bring that belief into the classroom.

"A week later," the campaign finance agency wrote, "Ms. Cameron was asked to resign."

Doe, the contributor to Minnesota United for All Families, had similar reasons to fear, he said.

"Mr. Doe argues that because his job requires him to represent the Catholic organization's positions to others from time to time, if his opposition to the marriage amendment was known, it would cause immense strain in his working relationships. Mr. Doe believes that this strain may be enough that his employment would be terminated," the agency wrote.

Minnesota law allows exemptions from the requirement to disclose the names and employers of contributors if such disclosure would cause specific harm.

"In this matter, the board concludes that this requirement has been met," it said in its decision.

 Here's the decision: 

Order Regarding John Doe

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