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What Should We Do With the “Yes on 8” Donors?

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Prop 8 OverI know that in 33 states, workers can still be fired for their sexual orientation or gender identity. I remember the days after the Prop. 8 vote, misting up at random times when I remembered that a majority of my neighbors took away my right to marry. So I hope you’ll forgive the twinge of happiness I felt when Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich resigned over his $1,000 donation to “Yes on Prop. 8.”

Seriously, I hope you’ll forgive me. Because I wouldn’t wanted to be fired or asked to resign six years from now for a less than generous opinion that wouldn’t affect my ability to do my job. Unless I was the public face of an organization that couldn’t handle my views. Then it’s OK. I guess. Maybe.

I’ve read columns and reporting on both sides of the Eich resignation, and my main conclusion is that it is complicated. Let’s start with what’s simple.

Eich technically resigned, but reporting on the events, including his statements, suggest that it wasn’t entirely his idea. As the First Amendment prevents the government, not private companies, from impinging on free speech, there’s little doubt Mozilla could have fired him had they needed to.

Authored By Joel Trambley – See the Full Story at LGBT Weekly

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Maine, USA: State Supreme Court Rules NOM Can’t Hide Their Donors

Friday, May 31st, 2013

Maine MapThe Maine Supreme Court finally weighed in on the National Organization for Marriage’s attempts to hide their donors in the state. The Sun Journal reports:

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Thursday upheld a lower court’s ruling that the National Organization for Marriage and its allies cannot shield the names of donors to a 2009 campaign against same-sex marriage from the state’s election oversight commission. In affirming an earlier Kennebec County Superior Court’s decision, justices on the Supreme Judicial Court rejected NOM’s arguments that subpoenas issued by the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Elections Practices violate donors’ First Amendment rights and expose them to “threats, harassment and reprisal.”

Anyone wanna take odds on whether NOM will continue to defy the courts in Maine on this issue?

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USA: 75% of NOM’s 2011 Funding Came From Just Two Donors

Friday, November 16th, 2012

75% of National Organization for Marriage's 2011 Funding Came From Just Two DonorsThe Human Rights Campaign marched into NOM’s Washington office today, demanded their now-publicly due 2011 financial filing, and learned that a massive amount of the hate group’s funding last year came from just two undisclosed mega-donors.

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) saw a steep decline in the amount of money it raised in 2011 – dropping to $6.2 million from the $9.1 million it raised the previous year. Just two donors were responsible for funding 75 percent of the anti-gay group – the organization reported two donations of approximately $2.4 million each.

In addition to illustrating that more than $4.7 million of NOM’s total $6.2 million reported came from just two mysterious mega-donors, the documents also reveal some interesting information about NOM’s closest affiliates.

See the Full Story at Joe.My.God

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California, USA: State Residents Give Big to Marriage Equality Fights

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

In 2008, big money flowed into California from other states in support and opposition to a gay marriage ballot initiative. In 2012, big money is flowing out of California toward similar initiatives elsewhere.

About 2,000 Californians have given a total of almost $1 million in support of gay marriage initiatives in Washington, Maine, Maryland and Minnesota, according to campaign finance records. Californians have given only about $25,000 in opposition to gay marriage in those states.

Most of the money has flowed into Washington and Maine, the two states where many polls show the most support for approving gay marriage. Some of the biggest financial support has come from Silicon Valley and Hollywood.

Authored By Phillip Reese – See the Full Story at the Sacramento Bee

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NC, USA: Fight Against Amendment One Fueled by Small Donors

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

North Carolina: Fight Against Amendment One Fueled by Small DonorsIndividual donors foot the bill on the opposing side, while NOM and the Roman Catholic Church line up on the other.

Exactly one week before voters in North Carolina will decide Amendment One, a draconian measure that would bar marriage rights and all other forms of relationship recognition for same-sex couples reports filed to North Carolina’s State Board of Elections show that the Coalition to Protect NC Families, which opposes the amendment, has raised $2.3 million to date, with first-quarter expenditures this year of $1.8 million and $294,000 cash on hand. Individual contributors have donated $1.4 million, with $368,000 in contributions from non-profits. (WRAL has crunched the numbers on major donors, click here for more info.)

Vote for Marriage NC, the coalition working to pass Amendment One, has raised a total of $1.2 million, with $1.1 million in first-quarter expenditures and $121,000 cash on hand. Individual contributors have donated $311,000, compared to $852,000 from non-profits, a near a near reverse of the giving pattern to Amendment One opponents.

Full Story from The Advocate

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USA: Three Big Romney Donors Also Supported Marriage Equality in New York

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Mitt Romney and Marriage Equality DonorsMitt Romney’s opposition to gay marriage, which helped endear him to conservative activists during the dog days of the presidential primary, puts him at odds with three of his most prominent donors, all of whom helped fund a successful effort to legalize same-sex nuptials in New York last year.

Paul Singer, Dan Loeb and Cliff Asness — three hedge fund managers and major players in donor circles — each cut six-figure checks toward the landmark effort to legalize gay marriage in New York.

Singer, the intensely-private head of Elliott Associates, has been especially active in donating to groups aimed at legalizing gay marriage in different states over the last five years, concurrent with his rise as one of the Republican party’s mot prominent bundlers and donors to party committees. According to a recent New York Times story, Singer has donated $8 million to pro-gay marriage efforts since 2007.

Full Story from Politico

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USA: Released Documents Shed More Light on NOM Campaign Finance Disclosure Avoidance

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

NOM LogoDespite all the disturbing race-wedging, parent-scaring, and dummy celebrity-co-opting found in the National Organization for Marriage’s confidential memos, it’s important to remember one other aspect of the anti-gay group’s sneaky tactics — the very tactic that failed and allowed these documents to see the light of day. In every one of its efforts, NOM intentionally avoids any action that would require it to disclose the identities of its donors. Consider this passage from one of the memos:

A victory in 2009 in Maine is critical to stopping the momentum of the same-sex marriage movement in the Northeast. The total budget for Maine is $3.5 million. We cannot designate any money given to NOM to the Maine effort because of disclosure requirements. But we do plan to contribute a total of $1 million to the campaign.

In a later memo, NOM admitted to funding $1.8 million of the approximately $3 million raised in Maine. Regardless of whether the intention was to circumvent or outright violate Maine’s laws, the goal was the same: avoid falling under the purview of finance disclosure while still playing a significant role. Of course, it was thanks to NOM’s failed challenge to Maine’s laws that these documents have been released.

Full Story from Think Progress

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CA: Federal Judge Says Prop 8 Proponents Must Disclose Donors

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Prop 8 DonorsA federal judge says donors to the $40 million campaign that banned same-sex marriage in California aren’t entitled to the anonymity that the U.S. Supreme Court has granted to minor parties operating in a hostile climate.

Only organizations like the Socialist Workers Party during the Cold War and the NAACP in the segregated South – “small, persecuted groups whose very existence depended on some manner of anonymity” – have been exempted from laws requiring that members and contributors be disclosed, U.S. District Judge Morrison England said Friday.

He said there is no evidence that the 7 million Californians who voted for Proposition 8 in 2008 could be considered a “fringe organization” with unpopular or unorthodox views, or that leaving donors in the public record would frighten away contributors to future campaigns.

Full Story from SFGate

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MN: Gay Marriage Ban Backers Want to Hide Donors, Spending

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

The groups behind a ballot measure that would put a ban on same-sex marriage in the Minnesota Constitution urged the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board on Tuesday to retain a rule that would allow corporations to make unlimited contributions in support of the ballot measure. The Minnesota Family Council (MFC) testified that it shouldn’t have to disclose any of its donors in the campaign to pass the amendment, while Minnesota for Marriage, of which MFC and the National Organization for Marriage are a part, brought in attorneys from the Citizens United Supreme Court case to argue that political spending by corporations on the amendment push should be shielded from disclosure laws.

The campaign finance board met to evaluate a 1998 advisory opinion on ballot measures that said corporations did not have to disclose spending on ballot campaigns. With the advent of new state statutes passed in the last few years, however, that opinion may need to be changed.

One member of the board questioned the status of corporations versus associations using the example of law firms. One law firm might be set up as a partnership and would have to disclose contributions, but another law firm that is set up as a corporation, even if it had the same number of employees and donated the same amount of money, would not have to disclose its contributions.

Full Story from the MN Independent

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75% of NOM’s 2010 Income Came From Five Large Donors

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

NOM has released a partial version of their 2009 tax return. The HRC-sponsored site NOM Exposed reports:

Most of the $7.1 million in revenue in ’09 came from a few very large donors. These donors could be individuals or corporations. Here is how NOM’s top donations break down.

1. $2,475,000
2. $1,230,000
3. $1,100,000
4. $400,000
5. $150,000

Running the numbers, this means that 3 wealthy donors contributed 68% of their total donations; 4 donors gave 73% and 5 donors gave 75%.

Full Story from Joe.My.God

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To subscribe to this blog, use the rss feed on the right, or use the form at right to join our email list. You can also email us at info@purpleunions.com. Or find us on Facebook – just search for Gay Marriage Watch (you’ll see our b/w wedding pic overlooking the Ferry Building and Bay Bridge in SF). We’re also tweeting daily at http://www.twitter.com/gaymarriagewatc.