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Gay marriage opponents running out of cash ahead of Supreme Court hearing

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO — ProtectMarriage.com, the principal advocacy group backing California’s Proposition 8, a 2008 voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, is suffering serious fundraising shortfalls, according to their attorney, Andrew Pugno.

Federal tax records showed a $2 million deficit in its legal fund at the end of 2011 — the third year in a row that expenses exceeded donations.

The group said late Tuesday that it has since covered the 2011 shortfall, but according to Pugno, it is still $700,000 short in fundraising for covering its expenses for defending the marriage ban before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Andrew Pugno

In an interview published Tuesday by Reuters, Pugno said that fundraising for ProtectMarriage.com has never been easy. However, he said he does not think changing attitudes are the problem.

“I don’t detect a decrease in enthusiasm,” he said. “What I detect is a certain degree of fatigue after having to essentially fight this issue non-stop since 2004, when the mayor in San Francisco started issuing marriage licenses.”

But many legal analysts and equal rights advocates think that the fundraising drop-off is a result of donor fatigue, the continued rise in public support for same-sex marriage, and the softening of some major gay marriage opponents, including the Mormon Church.

In an email to donors earlier this month the group said, “Unless the pace of donations starts to pick up right away, we could soon be forced over a financial cliff.”

Fred Karger, a former political consultant who ran for the GOP presidential nomination last year, has been highly critical of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), an early backer of Protectmarraige.com.

Since 2008, Karger has led a concerted effort to make public the secretive fundraising efforts of NOM and other marriage equality opponents. Karger said that he thinks that both individuals and institutions opposed to same-sex marriage are fearful of being associated with the cause, and this may be causing them to reconsider their financial support.

Karger said he had noticed early on that tremendous financial support for ProtectMarriage.com during the initial push for Prop 8 was coming from the Mormon Church.

According to freelance journalist Stephanie Mencimer, writing for backpage.com:

Karger found Mormons everywhere in the Prop 8 campaign: as actors in the TV ads, as volunteers, organizers, and political consultants. Just as intriguing, he would discover eventually, the group that had done the lion’s share of the work to get Prop 8 on the ballot to begin with, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), also had deep ties to the Mormon Church—and the church itself had been engaged in a campaign to block gay marriage across the nation for more than a decade.

Reuters reported that while the image-conscious Mormon church was one of the most visible Prop 8 supporters, once the church came under fire from LGBT advocacy groups and their allies, Mormon fundraising to oppose same-sex marriage plummeted.

Now, the possibility that the Supreme Court could strike down same-sex marriage bans has created problems for donors who don’t want to waste their money, Pugno said. But donors would be energized, he added, if ProtectMarriage.com wins the case.

“I think our support would be strengthened by the assurance to donors that their vote would matter,” Pugno said.

The Court is set to hear arguments in both the Proposition 8 case and a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the federal law which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Rulings in both cases are expected by the end of June.

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32 more reader comments:

  1. … Good!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 7:01pm
  2. Double good.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 7:01pm
  3. Thank God.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 7:02pm
  4. I find that interesting, especially since many fundamentalis Christians equate material wealth with divine favor….LOL

    Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 7:03pm
  5. Good to hear.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 7:03pm
  6. I see some “Cry Me A River” Sunday Sermon Collections coming soon.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 7:04pm
  7. EXCELLENT!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 7:04pm
  8. I hope that those bigots become powerless against marriage equality!! EQUALITY FOR MY LGBT BROTHERS AND SISTERS EVERYWHERE!! :)

    Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 7:04pm
  9. This is awesome :3

    Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 7:05pm
  10. Running out of cash? Quick! Ask an anti-spending GOP’er to set aside 3 mill for ya… if you are a good lawyer.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 7:06pm
  11. Bad ideas that live by the wallet can die by the wallet.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 7:07pm
  12. of course they will run out of cash….love does not support hate!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 7:07pm
  13. I just hope the Mormons stay out of it this time.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 7:07pm
  14. wow finally!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 7:12pm
  15. I can’t believe the Christian right was dumb enough to push it to the point of not 1 but 2 US Supreme Court cases in the first place. If they would have remained quit in California and not put it up for an unconstitutional vote then it would have made the process take longer.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 7:13pm
  16. I’d say it’s about time. I’m not American, but I am informed enough to know that this past election was a turning point, so to speak, in the fight for equality. Seriously, though, this country calls itself “The Land of the Free” . . . that’s misrepresentation in its truest form! “The Land of the Free for all those who identify as heterosexual white right-wing fundamentalist Christian males” is more like it! It’s times like these that make me so proud to be a Canadian! :) We had full marriage equality nationwide by 2005!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 7:13pm
  17. That is good news!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 7:15pm
  18. Maybe they just give up , Its a losing battle

    Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 7:15pm
  19. Good i Hope we win :D

    Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 7:16pm
  20. They may have to hit the streets or sell candy on the subway and say it’s for new football uniforms.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 7:33pm
  21. SUPER.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 8:13pm
  22. LOL

    Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 8:47pm
  23. Good!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 9:02pm
  24. Can only say this: GOOD!!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 9:03pm
  25. Serves the losers right! BAAAHAHAHA!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 9:04pm
  26. I hope all their funds vanish. And that NOM and the others lose all their money too.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 9:11pm
  27. @Cody It’s times like these that make me sure I wish I’d been born in a place like Canada, where Land Of the Free isn’t a contradiction of terms.

    Sadly it’s exactly as you say. I will not feel any pride as an American so long as we have issues like this.

    In fact, I might just move to Canada.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 9:14pm
  28. Too bad, so sad….. BUH-BYE!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 9:30pm
  29. Thankfully Cody, times are a’changin’!!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 9:32pm
  30. GOOD DEAL!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 11:43pm
  31. Good. There must be some damn rich lawyers laughing all the way to the bank.

    Posted on Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 12:16am
  32. Good!!

    Posted on Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 12:51am