Supporters of same-sex marriage outraise opponents 36-to-1

AUGUSTA, Maine — Supporters of same-sex marriage in Maine have raised much more money than their opponents, according to financial reports filed Friday with the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices.

Mainers United for Marriage raised about $359,000 compared with the nearly $10,000 raised by Protect Marriage Maine, the main political action committees for each side of the issue. Supporters of same-sex marriage claimed contributions from about 2,800 individual donors compared with nearly two dozen listed by opponents.

Under Maine election law, political action committees involved in referendum campaigns had to file reports before 11:59 p.m. Friday. Reports include money raised and spent between April 1 and May 29.

Mainers will vote Nov. 6 on whether to allow marriage licenses to be issued to same-sex couples. The referendum question in February was placed on the ballot after the secretary of state’s office validated the nearly 60,000 signatures on petitions submitted by supporters the previous month.

“Our volunteers and donors are engaged in the campaign,” David Farmer, spokesman for the campaign, said Friday. “The donations we’ve received from more than 2,000 Mainers reaffirms the information we are seeing in the polling and the conversations volunteers are having on the phone and going door-to-door.

“People are engaged and interested in this issue,” he continued. “There is growing support for allowing same-sex couples to marry.” Farmer writes a column for the BDN.

Carroll Conley of Protect Marriage Maine said that the amount of money raised does not reflect how voters feel about the issue. He also said that the campaign opposing gay marriage will kick off it fundraising campaign on Father’s Day when between 150 to 200 Maine churches will take a special collection for the campaign.

“I’m not that concerned about the money raised to this point,” Conley said Friday. “We know from the last campaign that we aren’t going to be able to raise as much money as the other side will. If we are able to raise $1 million in this state, that would be tremendous.”

Mainers on Nov. 3, 2009, voted 53 percent to 47 percent to repeal a law that allowed same-sex couples to marry. It had been passed by the Democrat-controlled Legislature and signed into law by Gov. John Baldacci in the spring of 2009. After the loss at the ballot box, EqualityMaine, a member organization that works on issues of importance to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals, began an outreach campaign to talk about the issue and began gathering signatures in August 2011 to put a question before voters.

Mainers United for Marriage, the primary PAC supporting same-sex marriage, reported raising $359,163 for the period and $464,722 for the year. It had $234,286 on hand at the end of the period.

The largest single donation came from a co-founder of Facebook who is editor-in-chief of the liberal magazine The New Republic. Chris Hughes and his fiance, Sean Eldridge, president of Hudson River Ventures and senior adviser to the national organization Freedom to Marry, gave the campaign $50,000.

That is half the $100,000 matching gift promised to the campaign, which has until June 7 to raise the matching money. Information about how much has been raised toward that goal was not available Friday.

The campaign listed $59,673 in unitemized contributions, which are not specifically identified in the report.

The PAC received $68,307 in in-kind contributions, most of which was work done by EqualityMaine staffers. Other in-kind contributions included work done by staff at organizations that are members of the coalition supporting the referendum.

Expenditures for the period totaled $212,367, much of which was for rent at the campaign’s five offices and staff salaries.

Protect Marriage Maine, the primary PAC raising money to oppose the referendum, raised $9,754 for the period and spent just $953. The PAC had $10,486 on hand Friday including $1,685 raised during the first quarter of the year.

The largest single donor listed was the Newport Church of God, which contributed $800. The source of about $6,000 in contributions is not identified specifically in the report.

The PAC also received nearly $3,200 in in-kind contributions. All but $40 of that came from the National Organization for Marriage in Washington, D.C., the group that contributed the majority of the money to the same-sex marriage repeal effort three years ago.

A majority of the money was spent on mailing lists and a Web page. The Christian Civic League of Maine gave an in-kind contribution valued at $40 for the use of office equipment.

The Mainers United for Marriage campaign will open its fifth campaign office at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Kennebunk on Sunday. The campaign also has field offices in Brewer, Kennebunk, Lewiston and Portland.

Conley said Friday that the Protect Marriage Maine campaign would be headquartered at the Christian Civic League’s office in Augusta and would pay rent to the organization.

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Comments

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Homosexuals have always

Homosexuals have always craved acceptance of their homosexuality by the heterosexual community. Unfortunately, that acceptance has not always been readily forthcoming, at least not in a manner consistent with their sense of urgency. But they never stop striving to gain this acceptance in order to claim their 'equality' in society.

I can well recall when they wanted to legalize same sex civil unions. This was going to be the status which would grant them equal rights and equal legal benefits same as those enjoyed by married heterosexuals. But, same sex unions turned out not to be the cup of tea they had envisioned, and even though same sex unions were not going to be the stepping stone to same sex marriage, they told us, they have become exactly that. They have incrementally gone from same sex civil unions to an undeterred quest for same sex marriage.

Being one who doesn't care a whole lot about what people do when the lights go out, I've found that unless I give wholehearted approval of certain behaviors, I'm labeled a bigot if I don't. I'm also of the belief that you can't plug a lamp into a lamp, and yet, I'm expected to consider two guys getting married to each other be a cool and acceptable thing. What I want to know is what will homosexuals want after same sex marriage becomes legal? What will be the next rung on the ladder of incrementation that homosexuals will clammor for? For the record, anyone who answers "Nothing", will be considered a liar.

 's picture

"I have to ask those opposed:

"I have to ask those opposed: "What difference would allowing same sex marriage make in your day to day life?"

SSM would be an expansion of government control over things that they should not be involved in in the first place. Get the government out of the marriage business! All marriages!

SSM sanctioned by the government would be an acknowledgment that the government now recognizes homosexuality as a norm. It would change society as a whole. If you truly believe in peoples rights, then you would not be pushing for this expansion of government power.

Jeff Johnson's picture

"SSM sanctioned by the

"SSM sanctioned by the government would be an acknowledgment that the government now recognizes homosexuality as a norm"

They already acknowledge homosexuality, and have written volumes of sexual orientation discrimination laws.

For argument's sake, homosexuals are +/- 11% of the population. Hardly a norm... the government does, however, recognize them as a group, along with other minorities.

Jeff Johnson's picture

Interesting you think that...

Interesting you think that... there are 31 states that had to legislate that marriage was between a man and a woman. They actually chose to write that into law. That seem like more control to me.

I think it would be much easier to rescind that law to what it originally was, than to add new SSM legislation. Two consenting adults. Keeping in place all the codes already in there dealing with incest, age, mental capacity, etc.

Jeff Johnson's picture

Day to day life...

Two hard facts before I start my diatribe: 1) I support SSM 2) I'm politically conservative. (I believe government should not be making 'moral' decisions, legistlation should be more localized as opposed to centralized or federal)

As a supporter of SSM, I have to ask those opposed: "What difference would allowing same sex marriage make in your day to day life?"

Here's what I believe the answer to be: After the initial media coverage for a month, absolutely no difference in your day-to-day life.

You'll see the media do their ratings push, by broadcasting weddings of famous Hollywood couples, outlandishly flamboyant weddings, and public-interest pieces of couples who have been together for 60 years, and are now finally recognized as a legal couple. Then the interest will die.

Here's what I liken it to: Ku Klux Klan rallies. Every year, the media covers a rally... and we all get inflamed, and indignant, and call them a bunch of idiots... yet we can't deny them their right to speak and assemble as the 1st ammendment allows them. 2 weeks later, we've forgotten all about it.

After that initial media blitz...what? Your church doesn't have to recognize SSM. If they decide to... switch. You won't be forced to join any civic groups or clubs that advocate SSM, the percentage of gay people won't rapidly increase and take over the voting population. Your taxes aren't going to increase. You may get a few more wedding invitations a year, but you don't have to attend.

You say you're morally opposed because the bible says it's an abomination. The bible also says eating shellfish is an abomination. (Are there different levels of abomination?) The bible also tells me I can sell my daughter into slavery, and should gather the town to stone to death my neighbor who works on the Sabbath. (What happend to "Thou shalt not kill?)

If you're opposed to SSM, I respect your opinion. Truly. I don't agree with it, but I respect your right to have an opposing opinion. I'm just looking for valid arguements that validate your opinion.

Discuss.

 's picture

Looks like it's going to be

Looks like it's going to be hard for the bigots to fight without money from the Diocese this time.

 's picture

Ethan, same sex couples can

Ethan, same sex couples can already get married. This November, we will be voting on whether or not the state should recognize that marriage for the purpose of government benefits. This November, we will NOT be voting on whether or they can get married.

Ethan Masselli's picture

I am, of course, for the

I am, of course, for the right for everyone to get married, I just wish we could stop fighting on this issue and instead focus this money towards bigger issues.

 's picture

Homosexuals are not fighting

Homosexuals are not fighting for the right to get married. They already have that right. Same sex marriage is not illegal!

Let's be crystal clear here. They are fighting for governmental and societal recognition for the purpose of monetary benefits. Nothing more, nothing less.

And with societal recognition, prepare for the lawsuits that will follow when certain organizations refuse to perform the ceremony or cater the affair.

Chuck Gage's picture

Perhaps...

Sounds like semantics, but I will agree with you that a gay couple may have a marriage ceremony performed in a church willing to do so. However, that really is not the issue and never has been.

It is all about being able to obtain the secular, state-issued marriage license. Once a license is obtained, the couple, as any couple, may choose to marry in a church willing to perform a SSM ceremony or by a Notary Public.

The lawsuits that may follow will not be for denial of a church to perform a SSM. First, that extraneous bit is in this November law, and second, it would never hold up in court. Churches may do as they please, discriminate against whomever they wish. It's called the First Amendment. Have you ever heard of church being sued for not performing an inter-racial marriage or an inter-faith marriage? Of course not. It does not happen.

Now, with regard to cater affairs, you do have some issues here. First off, if it were me, I don't think I'd want to eat the food of a caterer who was forced in court to serve me. But, discrimination is discrimination and if the law has determined that a lunch-counter is open for all people because it is a public business, then it must be open for gays, as well. If sexual orientation is part of Maine's anti-discrimination laws (I don't recall), then the company serving the public has no more right to discriminate against them then they do against blacks. That is just the way it is.

If a church opens its church hall to the public for rental for a fee, it has tread into the secular world and is running a business just like everyone else. Discrimination is not allowed. "I won't rent it to you because you are Asian," has not more validity, legally, than telling the couple they won't rent the hall because they are gay.

You play in the secular sandbox, you follow the rules like everyone else. You don't get a special pass just because you are a church.

 's picture

Maine Christian Civic League Leader

It appears to me that the leader of Maine Christian Civic League needs to find something more constructive to do with his time. Instead of trying to tell people how to live their lives.

Chuck Gage's picture

You wonder why...

Agreed. You have to wonder why this is such a big deal for them when it has nothing to do with them.

We are talking about secular, legal, civil marriage having nothing to do with church weddings. Churches may continue to discriminate and not marry gay couples. That is, and always has been, up to them.

However, if a couple wants to be married (straight or gay), they go to City Hall, pay their fee, and get a marriage license. At that point, they can go to a Notary Public, be married, and that's it. They are married. They can file jointly on their taxes and do all the stuff they want to do as a legally married couple.

They also have the option of going to their church and having a minister officiate a ceremony that accomplishes two things. 1 - the requirement by the State to be married, sign the marriage certificate, and all that, is accomplished. The State is happy. 2 - The optional ceremonial marriage that has no legal basis is accomplished and this "blesses, sanctifies, whatever" that marriage according to whatever tenet the church follows.

But, the church ceremony is entirely optional as far as the State goes. The state doesn't care if you are married at a church or a synagogue or a mosque. They just don't care, as long as the wedding agreement has occurred and the paperwork is signed.

Why the MCCL cannot get this through their heads is just beyond me. They do not have a dog in this fight. They think they do, but they do not.

Jeff Johnson's picture

Agreed 100%. Unfortunately,

Agreed 100%.

Unfortunately, there are militants out there on both sides of the issue.

My worry is the group trying for shock-value, that is going to sue the Catholic church when they won't perform the religious ceremony. These are the same people that expect women should have acceptance in all-men's clubs, and vice versa.

They're not seeking equality... they're seeking headlines. I remember this starting in Boston, at a private men's club. (Bull and Finch Club? Correct me if I'm wrong.) A private men's club, started by university oarsmen a hundred years prior. The building was owned, by the club, managed by the officers, and all membership fees went back into the club. They were exclusive to their own membership.
No one was profiting... why should they not exclude who they wanted to exclude? A woman sued for membership... and won. The club disbanded rather than admit a woman. Who won? Neither.

Every group of people, split any way you want to split them... by age, sex, race, nationality, religion, left-handedness, blue eyes, sexuality, IQ, name, Medical condition... Has the right to form their own group and include or exclude who they want to as long as 1) they're not for profit, or 2) not taking any kind of government money.

Has the KKK ever had to admit a Black American or a Jew? (in their right mind, why would they even force the issue?)

Are clubs exclusionary? Yep. Is someone gonna get their feelings hurt? Yep. I truly see nothing wrong with that. Right now, there's a lawsuit against the women-only gym 'Curves'. Some tool is trying to prove a point. Do women deserve their own women-only club to work out in? Yep. Do fat, white, rich, old men deserve their own golf club? Yep. Does the American Nazi Movement deserve their own club? Do the Catholics deserve their group that don't belive in SSM? Yep.

Good or bad, everyone has the right to their opinion and the right to gather to express it.

Chuck Gage's picture

Two issues, really...

Jeff -

I agree with you on the points of club exclusions. I trust you are not saying that SSM should remain banned because the risk to the Catholic Church is that they will be forced to perform a SSM? That would hardly be a justification to disallow SSM.

But, let's talk about club exclusions. I am not familiar with the Boston case. I can cite an example called the August National Golf Club in Georgia where the Masters tournament is held annually. They still restrict club membership to men only. No women are allowed. Another example is the Boy Scouts and gay Scout Masters. This restriction also is allowed to stand.

There are distinctions between what discrimination is legally permitted and what is not. There are plenty of clubs in the USA where membership is restricted. It seems to be that if a private club serves almost no public function, that discrimination is allowed to stand. However, if it is a business and generally open to all, then discrimination is not allowed. Here is a pretty good explanation (see link). I recall a similar problem with some club that had a public liquor license. They were open to the public and thus could not discriminate. Here's the link:

http://forum.freeadvice.com/civil-rights-discrimination-law-101/country-...

But, this club discrimination vis-a-vis the church does not apply nor could I ever see how is could be. Right now, any church is allowed to discriminate against performing any ceremony with which it disagrees. You have never heard of a lawsuit or civil rights violation against a church because it declined to perform a marriage ceremony between two people who are of different races, or who were previously married and now are divorced, or who are from different faiths. This never happens. That is because in the eyes of the Constitution, religion does not even exist (First Amendment). Churches do not pay taxes any more than foreign embassies pay taxes because our government has no jurisdiction over churches. Some leeway is given if criminal acts are done against innocent people obviously, but in general, churches are "hands off" by the government, as it should be. The recent debacle of forcing the church to pay for contraception for those parishioners who wanted it was in error, in my opinion. However, the problem was easily resolved by making contraceptive care optional and to be paid for by the insurance companies, not the religious institutions. Both sides "saved face" in this situation. The reality, of course, is that 98% of the Catholics use artificial birth control so it really was a ridiculous point. But, it's resolved. Done.

The problem with any religious institution being forced to do anything is just how much they delve into the secular world. Similar to the private club being "public" problem mentioned before, when you see a religious organization hang out a shingle and start renting out their halls for profit and advertise it to the general public, this is where you are going to have problems. Once a group does that, they then are subject to the anti-discrimination laws. I personally think this is absolutely fair. Suppose the Methodist church opens a weekend breakfast brunch for the hunters (and everyone else) in Maine and charges a fee. Two black hunters show up and they are turned away because they are black? Is that right? What about two gay hunters? Is that right?

Suppose those two gay hunters walk in with a newspaper ad and say they want to rent the hall for their wedding reception. The minister tells them he does not approve of SSM so "go away." Is that fair? I do not think so.

Once the sectarian crowd dips its toes into the secular world they must comply with the secular laws. It is that simple.

Reality is this is never going to happen. Even the proposed law added this extraneous religious protection bit, but it is totally unnecessary. Above all, it is no justification to disallow the legalization of SSM.

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