The prominent, sometimes controversial,
labor union Unite Here has contributed $100,000 to support gay
marriage in California. The union also pledged to raise another
$50,000 for marriage equality.
The half-million strong union, formed
in 2004 from the merger of Unite and Here, said Monday that it was
committed to the principal of marriage equality for gay couples in
“Endorsing the No-on-8 campaign is
consistent with the long-held positions of this union,” said Cleve
Jones, a longtime gay activist and organizer for Unite Here. “In
addition to opposing Propostion 8, Unite Here encourages its LGBT
[lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] employees to participate in
all levels of the union. The union is absolutely committed to the
Gay marriage in California has drawn
huge attention nationwide, where a combined total of $41.2 million
has poured into the state – more money than the combined total
spent in 24 similar anti-gay measures nationwide since 2004.
Proponents of Proposition 8 – the
constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage in the state –
maintain a significant lead in fundraising with a reported $25.4
million through Sept. 30th. Gay marriage advocates in the
Golden State trail by over $10 million.
Frank Schubert, co-manager of the
Yes-on-8 campaign, said on Monday that more than 60,000 people and
businesses have given money in support of the gay marriage ban.
“It shows there is tremendous
grassroots support for what we are trying to do,” said Schubert.
The Unite Here donation comes at a time
when money appears to be influencing the gay marriage issue. A new
CBS5.com poll released Monday shows a majority of Californians
supporting the gay marriage ban by five percent (47% to 42%).
Previous polls had shown the gay marriage ban failing. Credit for
the shift is being given to a multi-million dollar anti-gay marriage
campaign that began airing in most California markets last Monday.
“This contribution reflects the
longstanding relationship the LGBT community has had with our union
partner,” said Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors.
“Just as they have stood up with us to ensure that marriage rights
apply to everyone, we will stand up with them for fairness and