October 12, 2012 | by Michael K. Lavers
Exclusive: Md. marriage campaign raises $3.2 million
Josh Levin, Marylanders for Marriage Equality, gay news, Washington Blade

Marylanders for Marriage Equality campaign director Josh Levin (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The group defending Maryland’s same-sex marriage law will report later on Friday that it has raised $3.2 million.

Marylanders for Marriage Equality’s campaign finance report that it will file with state officials will also note total expenditures of slightly more than $2 million, with roughly $1.2 million cash on-hand. It will indicate just short of $400,000 of in-kind donations from the Human Rights Campaign and other organizations.

The report will also include more than 950 pages of donors and contributions.

“We truly appreciate the generous support of all those who believe in fairness and equality – particularly the thousands of grassroots supporters all over the state,” Josh Levin, campaign manager of Marylanders for Equality, told the Washington Blade.

Marylanders for Marriage Equality has held a number of high-profile fundraisers with Gov. Martin O’Malley, gay former Republican National Committee Chair Ken Mehlman, Ravens linebacker Brendan Ayanbadejo and others over the last several months. Former National Football League Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and his wife Chan announced a $100,000 donation to the campaign during an Oct. 2 fundraiser at gay Democratic lobbyist Steve Elmendorf’s Logan Circle home that O’Malley; D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray; Chip DiPaula, former Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich, Jr.,’s chief-of-staff and others attended.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who attended Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, announced earlier on Friday that he had donated $250,000 to Marylanders for Marriage Equality. This donation will be the largest single contribution listed on the campaign’s report.

It will further note $1.6 million in media buys on local television stations through Nov. 6 — the first Marylanders for Marriage Equality ads that feature Rev. Donté Hickman of Southern Baptist Church in Baltimore and Rev. Delman Coates of Mount Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton in Prince George’s County aired on WBAL in Baltimore on Tuesday. The first ad from the Maryland Marriage Alliance, the group opposing Question 6, began running on the same television on Monday — they have also begun to air on News 4 in D.C.

Levin told the Blade in June he was confident that he could run what he described as a “winning campaign” with between $5 and $7 million. O’Malley told LGBT journalists and bloggers on a Sept. 24 teleconference call that the campaign needed to raise another $2 million ahead of the Nov. 6 referendum.

“I would say we are far along to our goal,” he said in response to the Blade’s question about specific fundraising figures during the briefing. “We are beyond the 50-yard line and we continue to move forward, not back.”

O’Malley said during the Oct. 2 fundraiser in D.C. that Marylanders for Marriage Equality needed to raise another $1 million before Election Day.

Marylanders for Marriage Equality will file its campaign finance report on the same day HRC gave the group an additional $150,000 and another $150,000 to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s Maryland Marriage PAC. HRC has given Marylanders for Marriage Equality $652,000 from July 11 through Oct. 7.

The report will also show $50,000 in in-kind donations from the ACLU of Maryland.

“We’ve always said this is a $5 million- plus campaign and hope to meet that goal as we enter the final stretch,” said Levin.

The Maryland Marriage Alliance notes in its own campaign finance report that it has raised $838,620.74. The anti-Question 6 group further reported $510,513.63 in expenditures and a cash balance of $328,107.11.

The National Organization for Marriage gave $400,000 to the Maryland Marriage Alliance. The Connecticut-based Knights of Columbus contributed $250,000 to the anti-Question 6 campaign.

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

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