June 26, 2012 at 10:46 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Maryland same-sex marriage opponents report $88,000 in debt
Gay News, Washington Blade, Gay Marriage

Same-sex marriage supporters claim they raised more money on Tuesday than the Maryland Marriage Alliance did all month. (Blade photo by Michael Key)

Opponents of Maryland’s same-sex marriage law on Monday reported that their campaign to spur a referendum on the issue is more than $88,000 in debt.

Documents that the Maryland Marriage Alliance filed with the Secretary of State on the same day it submitted 39,473 additional signatures to spur a November referendum show the group is $88,277.07 in the red. This figure includes an unpaid invoice of $74,530.50 to MDPetitions.com, a petition signature collection company owned by Del. Neil Parrott (R-Washington County.)

The Maryland Marriage Alliance also reported to state officials that it has raised only $5,051.75, which includes three $250 donations that the National Organization for Marriage made on June 15.

The group did not immediately return the Blade’s request for comment, but Maryland Marriage Alliance executive director Derek McCoy downplayed his organization’s debts in an interview with the Baltimore Sun.

Marylanders for Marriage Equality claimed on Twitter that it raised more money on Tuesday than the Maryland Marriage Alliance has so far this month. The group seeking to defend the same-sex marriage law that Gov. Martin O’Malley signed in March did not provide a specific amount, but it raised roughly $20,000 at a fundraiser that Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake attended at a private home in the Charm City on Sunday.

O’Malley and House Speaker Michael Busch co-hosted a second fundraiser for Marylanders for Marriage Equality in Ocean City on Tuesday.

“This report raises questions about the fiscal responsibility of the Maryland Marriage Alliance in terms of its debt and fundraising,” Marylanders for Marriage Equality spokesperson Kevin Nix told the Blade. “Pro-marriage equality supporters raised the same amount in one day within Maryland as our opponents did in one month.”

The Maryland Marriage Alliance pointed out on Monday that it has submitted 162,241 signatures in support of the referendum—more than 10,000 above their original goal of 150,000. An unofficial count posted to the Maryland State Board of Elections’ website on Friday showed that officials have validated 109,313 of the 113,000 signatures that the group filed on May 29.

A Public Policy Polling survey last month found that 57 percent of Maryland voters would support the state’s same-sex marriage law in the likely referendum. The poll also noted that 55 percent of black Marylanders back nuptials for gays and lesbians.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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