National Organization for Marriage Seeks to Put New York in Line with the Constitution

James Madison Center for Free Speech
1 South 6th Street
Terre Haute, IN 47807

Monday, September 27, 2010
Contact: James Bopp, Jr.
Phone: 812-232-2434; Fax 812-235-3685

National Organization for Marriage Seeks to Put New York in Line with the Constitution

National Organization for Marriage (“NOM”) has filed a constitutional challenge in Federal Court to New York s Election Law. NOM desires to raise awareness of critical issues that otherwise may go undetected by most but that would be relevant information to many. Specifically, NOM desires to run television and radio ads, send out mailers, and post these items to its website. New York law, however, restricts the rights of groups such as NOM from having their voice heard in the midst of relevant discussions in society concerning these critical issues.

New York cannot completely ban NOM from speaking as the Constitution protects the Freedom of Speech. However, New York still silences speech by labeling NOM as a “Political Committee,” which label imposes layer after layer of burdens on NOM and similar groups that wish to exercise their constitutional rights to speak. New York has added so many layers of rules to follow and hoops to jump through that many groups, such as NOM, are dissuaded from even trying to comply. By imposing so many rules that carry the possibility of criminal punishment for failures to follow remote provisions of the rules, New York has essentially become like the grinning playground bully taunting “Speak if you dare.”

NOM sees through the effects of New York’s laws that silence speech and has decided to confront the issue head on. NOM is fighting these restrictions and threats of penalties by seeking to have these rules declared unconstitutional as undue burdens on the Freedom of Speech. In essence, NOM seeks to free itself of the “Political Committee” label and its attendant regulations and rules that stick with it. NOM simply seeks the ability to communicate as freely as any other person in the United States.

James Bopp, Jr., the lead attorney representing NOM and head counsel for the James Madison Center, is determined to assist in exposing the true effects of these laws and putting New York in line with the Constitution. “New York has violated the Constitution,” he says, “and it is up to concerned citizens to take a stand and declare that enough is enough. NOM has done just that, and is courageously standing up to protect the values at the heart of our Constitution, values essential to maintaining a free country.”

The case is titled National Organization for Marriage, Inc. v. Walsh, and is in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York. A copy of the filings are available at the James Madison Center’s website
James Bopp, Jr. has a national campaign finance and election law practice with Bopp, Coleson & Bostrom. He is General Counsel for the James Madison Center for Free Speech.