November 30, 2012 | by Michael K. Lavers
Pro-Question group raises nearly $6 million to defend Md. marriage law
Martin O'Malley, Brendon Ayanbadejo, Question 6, Maryland, election 2012, gay marriage, same sex marriage, marriage equality, gay news, Washington Blade

Governor Martin O’Malley with Brendon Ayanbadejo of the Baltimore Ravens outside Northwood Elementary School in Baltimore on Nov. 6 (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Marylanders for Marriage Equality raised nearly $6 million to defend the state’s same-sex marriage law, according to campaign finance reports.

The latest report the pro-Question 6 group filed with state election officials on Nov. 27 indicates it raised $776,041.15 between Oct. 22 and Nov. 20 with an additional $78,802.87 in in-kind contributions. This figure comes on top of the $4,504,262.61 it raised between July 27-Oct. 7 and $547,490.19 in in-kind contributions during the same period.

Marylanders for Marriage Equality raised a total of $5,906,596.82 in cash and in-kind contributions.

HRC, United Therapeutics Corporation, MGM among largest donors

The campaign’s latest report indicates the Human Rights Campaign donated $188,000 and $33,264.47 in in-kind contributions in the days leading up to the Nov. 6 referendum. The Human Rights Campaign Maryland Families PAC contributed $35,000 to Marylanders for Marriage Equality on Oct. 31 and another $55,000 on Nov. 2.

MGM, which seeks to build a casino at National Harbor in Prince George’s County after voters approved expanded gambling in the state, contributed $75,000 to Marylanders for Marriage Equality on Oct. 23. The D.C. biotechnology company United Therapeutics Corporation that transgender woman Martine Rothblatt founded donated $100,000 to the pro-Question 6 group. Baltimore attorney Peter Angelos on Nov. 2 contributed $50,000 to Marylanders for Marriage Equality on Nov. 2.

The owners of the 9:30 Club in Northwest Washington, which hosted a Marylanders for Marriage Equality fundraiser that gay former “American Idol” Adam Lambert headlined in September, donated $25,000 to the campaign. The Democratic State Committee of Maryland on Oct. 22 transferred $10,000 to Marylanders for Marriage Equality.

Freedom to Marry, which had initially declined to join the coalition of groups defending Maryland’s same-sex marriage law, gave a $70,000 contribution to Marylanders for Marriage Equality on Oct. 24. Other donors included former O’Malley aide Joseph Bryce, Whitman-Walker Health Executive Director Don Blanchon, the Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police, Equality Maryland and the ACLU of Maryland.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in October donated $250,000. Former National Football League Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and his wife Chan announced a $100,000 contribution to Marylanders for Marriage Equality during an Oct. 2 fundraiser at gay Democratic lobbyist Steve Elmendorf’s Logan Circle home that Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and others attended.

Gay former Republican National Committee Chair Ken Mehlman also co-hosted a star-studded Marylanders for Marriage Equality fundraiser in New York City in September at which O’Malley also spoke.

“We knew that preserving marriage equality at the ballot box was going to take tremendous effort and sacrifice,” Carrie Evans, executive director of Equality Maryland, told Washington Blade. “The fact that we were able to raise almost $6 million underscores how important this issue was for so many different people and organizations. From wealthy Republicans, to labor unions, to the college student who sent $15 with a note saying ‘I wish it was more, but I hope it helps you,’ we all came together to stand up for fairness and equality for all Maryland families.

HRC spokesperson Kevin Nix agreed.

“The final report — like the previous ones — indicates the outpouring of grassroots support we had throughout the campaign,” he said. “We’re certainly grateful to all those who donated their time and money to this extraordinary win.”

Marylanders on Nov. 6 upheld the state’s same-sex marriage law O’Malley signed in Marcy by a 52-48 percent margin. Voters in Maine and Washington on the same day also approved nuptials for gays and lesbians at the ballot box, while Minnesotans rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman.

Question 6 opponents raise slightly more than $2.4 million

The Maryland Marriage Alliance, which opposed Question 6, reported in its latest campaign finance report it raised $697,572.07 between Oct. 22 and Nov. 20. It also noted $53,809.08 in in-kind contributions.

The National Organization for Marriage on Oct. 24 transferred $400,000 to the Maryland Marriage Alliance, while the Knights of Columbus donated $100,000 on Oct. 30. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, N.J., on Oct. 26 gave $25,000 to the anti-Question 6 group.

The Roman Catholic Foundation of the Archdiocese of Baltimore donated $10,000 on Nov. 20.

Other Maryland Marriage Alliance donors include the Catholic Dioceses of Arlington, Va., and Wheeling-Charleston, W.V., Colonial Baptist Church in Randallstown and Bethesda resident Sterling Colton. The anti-Question 6 raised a total of $2,452,881.74 in cash and in-kind contributions from July 27–Nov. 20.

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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