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SPECIAL ISSUE - California Marriage Coverage
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MORE FROM THIS AUTHOR
AMY CAVANAUGH


MORE INFO
TOP 25 DONORS

Oppose Prop 8:

ROBERT W. WILSON   
$1,200,000       
BROOKLYN, NY

BRUCE BASTIAN       
$1,005,000       
OREM, UT

DAVID MALTZ       
$1,000,000       
CLEVELAND, OH

DAVID BOHNETT       
$600,000       
BEVERLY HILLS, CA

GILL ACTION FUND   
$350,000           
DENVER, CO
   
LOS ANGELES GAY &
LESBIAN SERVICES CTR.   
$300,602   
LOS ANGELES, CA   

CENTER ADVOCACY
PROJECT ISSUES PAC   
$286,206   
SAN DIEGO, CA   

CA STATE COUNCIL OF SERVICE EMPLOYEES POLITICAL ACTION ISSUES, DEFENSE & ADVOCACY   
$250,000   
SACRAMENTO, CA

CALIFORNIA TEACHERS’ ASSOCIATION
ISSUES PAC   
$250,000   
BURLINGAME, CA

FRED EYCHANER   
$250,000   
CHICAGO, IL   

PACIFIC GAS AND
ELECTRIC COMPANY   
$250,000   
SAN FRANCISCO, CA   

THE SAN FRANCISCO FOUNDATION   
$250,000   
SAN FRANCISCO, CA

HRC   
$237,409   
WASHINGTON, DC   

NATIONAL GAY & LESBIAN TASK
FORCE, INC.   
$194,083   
WASHINGTON, DC

JAMES C. HORMEL   
$150,000
SAN FRANCISCO, CA   

ESMOND V. HARMSWORTH   
$125,000
BOSTON, MA

Support Prop 8:

KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS HEADQUARTERS   
$1,250,000   
NEW HAVEN, CT

JOHN TEMPLETON       
$900,000       
BRYN MAWR, PA   

FIELDSTEAD AND COMPANY   
$600,000       
IRVINE, CA

AMERICAN FAMILY ASSOC., INC.   
$500,000       
TUPELO, MS   

ELSA PRINCE   
$450,000   
HOLLAND, MI   

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY   
$448,476   
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO

ROBERT HURTT   
$250,000   
GARDEN GROVE, CA   

TERRY CASTER   
$172,500   
SAN DIEGO, CA

DOROTHY NIELSON   
$150,000   
LA VERNE, CA

Source: LA Times





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NATIONAL

Prop 8 supporters see surge in donations
Boost from Mormon Church amounts to $5 million

AMY CAVANAUGH - proposition 8, mormon church
Friday, September 19, 2008

Supporters of same-sex marriage in California are alarmed that proponents of Proposition 8 have raised $5 million since Sept. 1.

The latest tallies available this week reveal that $16,231,781 has been donated in support of Proposition 8, which seeks to ban same-sex marriage in the state, while $10,847,114 has been donated by marriage supporters.

Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors said his organization has donated approximately $4 million to Equality for All, the coalition fighting Prop 8.

Kors, who said this week he was fearful about the surge in money raised by Prop 8 supporters, attributed the new money to the Mormon Church.

“They are raising an unprecedented amount of money to eliminate an existing right that lesbian and gay people now have,” Kors said.

He noted that Prop 8 opponents have “raised more than has ever been raised for a campaign in our community.”

“We’re continuing to raise money, but the other side typically outspends us, and we don’t have the church network they do,” he said. “Focus on the Family and other organizations have money, and we’re continuing to reach out to raise money.”

Those seeking to overturn same-sex nuptials indeed got a boost from the Mormon Church. The Daily Herald in Utah reported that “church members, mostly from California, have made individual donations close to $5 million in support of Proposition 8,” and that in June “California church authorities read a statement from Salt Lake City leaders over the pulpit that church members ‘do all [they] can to support the proposed constitutional amendment.’”

Protectmarriage.com, a coalition backing Prop 8, did not respond this week to the Blade’s repeated calls, but in the Herald article, coalition spokesperson Jennifer Kerns said that while the church “has played a significant role in support of the proposition … the coalition does not keep track of donors’ religions.”

The Herald also reported that 25,000 Mormon volunteers have gone door-to-door each weekend to speak to voters.

Gay rights advocate Bruce Bastian, who donated $1 million to the Human Rights Campaign for the Equality for All Campaign, said he wasn’t surprised that the opposing side is raising so much money.

“It disappoints me that the ‘no’ side hasn’t been as active, but that’s what liberals do,” he said. “They sit there and say that it will be OK in the end, that it will work itself out, but that’s not true. The right wing gets stirred up because of fear and anger and they are willing to sacrifice time and money at it, but for some reason the LGBT community is just too ambivalent to realize how scary this is.”

Bastian, who lives in Utah, said that there could be gay people who don’t care about getting married who don’t see Prop 8 as a major issue, but, he added, “if you allow the right wing to take control of our lives in this matter, then I’m afraid they won’t be satisfied and will want to do more.”

Juan Ahonen-Jover, whose eQualityGiving provides gay donors with advice and a forum to discuss politics and funding strategies, said that some donors may be overwhelmed by the many choices of where to give.

“There are many choices and it seems that the No. 1 priority is the White House, which has the biggest impact on passing legislation, and which seats the Supreme Court, and many of our equality rights will come from the Supreme Court,” he said. “Therefore, many of the largest donors are very focused on that.”

Ahonen-Jover said that the second priority for donors seems to be the three amendments on marriage rights.

He noted that since “California is very special, I’m surprised that people are not putting up as much as they could and should since there’s no limit to what they can give, unlike with the federal election, where they have a limit.”

But even if the federal election is pulling dollars away from Equality for All, Ahonen-Jover said that he’s heard that many of the biggest gay donors have not maxed out at the federal level.

“We’re trying to motivate donors to be clear about their priorities and emphasize giving generously,” he said.

Kors said although money is crucial to defeating Prop 8, votes also come from work on the ground.
“It takes all the pieces to win,” he said. “California is expecting between 12 and 13 million people to vote, and the only way to reach large numbers of people and the undecided voters is in the media. But an active field campaign in a close race can make all the difference.”

Bastian said that defeating Proposition 8 would come down to getting people to vote.

“You can be sure that the right wing will have lawn signs, will go door to door, and you read about how proud the Mormons are of their contributions,” he said. “Our side should be getting mad, and saying ‘enough is enough.’ But I don’t know what it’s going to take to get them mad.”

National gay organizations working in California to help defeat Proposition 8 have made donations and are encouraging donations from other supporters of gay marriage.

Jeremy Pittman, the national deputy field director for the Human Rights Campaign, said his organization donated $237,409 in staff ...

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