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Anti-Gay Marriage Donors Fear Increased Threats After California Judge's Disclosure Ruling

Supporters of Proposition 8, the California constitutional amendment that banned gay marriage in the state in November, say they expect discrimination, harassment and intimidation to continue after a federal judge denied a request to keep private the names of donors to the initiative.

Douglas McDermott, president of McDermott Financial and Insurance in Sacramento, donated $15,000 to the Prop. 8 campaign in September. While his business hasn't been targeted, McDermott said some angry callers have left threatening messages.

"You get telephone calls, you get threats," McDermott told FOXNews.com. "Ask anyone — If you've donated, your name is published everywhere, all over California. That's what's happening."

"They come all day and night," he said.

Another donor, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals, said employees at his California real estate development and investment company received an anonymous e-mail in October outing him as someone who gave $30,000 to support Prop 8.

"Did you know you work for a judgmental bigot? I know I could not work for someone who encourages bigotry and hate," the e-mail read.

"Something like that isn't the nicest thing to get when you come into the office on a Monday," the executive told FOXNews.com. "Another fellow left a message on my voicemail saying, 'What goes around comes around, and now you're going to experience the comes around part. Have fun.'"

Both men said they're worried that the harassment will continue in the wake of Thursday's ruling by U.S. District Judge Morrison England. Attorneys for the Prop 8 campaign have indicated they plan to appeal. An official for the Yes on 8 campaign has said another 1,600 donors will be put at risk with the release of the reports on Monday.

"You don't know in today's world where threats will lead," the real estate executive told FOXNews.com. "There's a delicate balance between the rights of an individual and disclosure."

The judge's ruling upheld California's campaign finance law, which specifies that information on political campaign donations be made public. Nationwide, such laws aim for transparency in the political process by shining a light on where the money is coming from and where it's going.

Brian Brown, executive director for the National Organization for Marriage California, said stopping the disclosure of smaller donors is the group's "main concern." The names of major donors already have been disclosed on the secretary of state's Web site.

"I am worried that more threats and intimidation is going to occur because of [the judge's] decision," Brown said. "But this isn't the end of the line."

Brown said he's particularly troubled by a Web site that shows a map of donors, how much they donated and when.

"These are things that should not happen in a democracy," he said. "People should not be punished for their deeply held beliefs. This is a core part of what our system is about and it's being threatened by this sort of intimidation and harassment. People shouldn't have to choose between their safety and supporting what they believe in."

But Fred Karger, founder of the gay-rights group Californians Against Hate, said he was "delighted" with Thursday's ruling that upheld the campaign finance disclosure law -- while at the same time denouncing any threats or violence from either side of the issue.

"It's deplorable that things have happened, but it's happened on both sides," Karger said. "It's very unfortunate. It's a very emotional campaign. We are in the midst of a civil rights struggle for equal rights and this will continue until hatred is gone."

James Bopp, an attorney for the Prop 8 supporters, said he's "very optimistic" that the identities of the smaller donors will ultimately be private.

"The district court did not use the correct standard in this case," Bopp told FOXNews.com. "Disclosure inherently carries the risk of harassment and intimidation. No voter in the state of California in their right mind would care that Joe Blow gave as little as $100 to a multimillion-dollar campaign."

Bopp continued, "We have demonstrated that there was a concerted campaign to harass and intimidate the donors and that harassment was carried out. We think that's sufficient to say that this group does not have to disclose at all."