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 California.

“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 LGBT community.”

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 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 equality.”