Politics

October 7, 2012

Pro-gay group outraises opponents

In 2009, proponents of gay marriage also outspent opponents, yet the ballot question failed.

By SUSAN M. COVER Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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QUESTION 1

THE FIRST QUESTION on the Maine ballot on Nov. 6 will read: "Do you want to allow the State of Maine to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples?"

Freedom to Marry, a New York group that works to win gay marriage across the country, donated $775,000. Another major supporter, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, which has run television ads in support of gay marriage, reported raising $217,775 and spending more than $426,890. That leaves them with a deficit of $209,115.

IN-KIND DONATIONS ALSO REPORTED

In addition to direct donations from proponents, Mainers United for Marriage received $213,880 in in-kind donations. That includes $900 worth of DVDs donated by comedian Margaret Cho of Beverly Hills.

Opponents received the bulk of their money from the National Organization for Marriage, which gave $252,000 during this reporting period. The largest individual donation came from Dr. Christopher Ritter, a Bangor physician who gave $10,000, the reports show.

Focus on the Family gave $25,000 and the Christian Civic League of Maine gave $20,000. Also, a group called CitizenLink, a Colorado-based organization affiliated with Focus on the Family, gave $25,000. In-kind donations totaled $1,256.

In 2009, most of the money spent by opponents was donated by the National Organization for Marriage, which gave nearly $2 million. The group has been investigated by the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices for refusing to release its donor list from that campaign. Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the National Organization for Marriage's appeal of a lower court's decision to order it to release its donor list.

The group also did not list individual donors on the report filed last week, prompting Mainers United to accuse it of once again skirting campaign finance laws. Brown, its executive director, said the National Organization for Marriage donated money from its general fund, which is permissible under Maine law.

Events related to the ballot question are planned in the coming weeks, including a debate at the University of Southern Maine on Oct. 18, and two spaghetti dinners hosted by former Gov. John Baldacci, a gay-marriage supporter.

Baldacci, who signed gay marriage into law in 2009 before it was repealed by voters, will host a spaghetti dinner Oct. 17 in Bangor and another Oct. 26 in Portland, according to Catholics for Marriage Equality.

Staff Writer Susan Cover can be reached at 621-5643 or at:

scover@mainetoday.com

 

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