Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormons) continue to donate money against gay marriage in California at a breakneck pace. Mormons, whose members only make up about twelve percent of California's population, have donated an estimated 75% of the $25 million raised to pass Proposition 8, said Fred Karger, campaign manager for Californians Against Hate. Proposition 8 is the ballot initiative that would forbid gay marriage in California.

“It appears that at least 75% of the $25 million raised by Yes-on-8 is from members of the Mormon Church,” wrote Karger in an email.

Last month, Mormon contributions were estimated at only $6 million. But recently updated figures by, the primary backer of the gay marriage ban, revealed a $25 million bankroll – a $10 million advantage over gay activist who seek to keep gay marriage legal in California.

Anti-gay marriage foes have used that money to blanket California's airwaves with negative advertising that appears to have soured some voters on gay marriage. A new CBS/SurveyUSA 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. Analysts say the race remains too close to call.

The Yes-on-8 (Proposition 8) commercial begins with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom at a May 15th rally at City Hall, where he is seen celebrating the state Supreme Court's decision legalizing gay marriage.

“This door's wide open now. It's going to happen – whether you like it or not,” Newsom declares to a cheering crowd.

The reason for Newsom's inclusion in the video is obvious: He appears self-satisfied and smug as he declares, “Whether you like it or not.”

Producers of the 30-second spot immediately pounced on the cocky image of gay marriage's most ardent ally, using it freely throughout. When a female announcer says, “We don't have to accept this [gay marriage],” Newsom reappears and boisterously declares, “Whether you like it or not.” The ad warns that without Proposition 8, people would be sued over personal beliefs, churches could loose their tax exemption, and gay marriage would be taught in public schools.

Gavin Newsom is often credited with opening gay marriage in California. In 2004, he ordered San Francisco clerks to issue marriage licenses to gay couples against state law. Those marriages were eventually invalidated by the state Supreme Court. But a May decision by the court found a 2000 voter-approved gay marriage ban unconstitutional. Since then thousands of gay couples have wed in the Golden State.

“It [Gavin Newsom's sound bite] showed the arrogance of this measure on the part of those and the four justices who essentially want to cram it down everyone's throat,” Tom Loarie of the Yes-on-8 campaign told KPIX.

Top Mormon leaders, known as the First Presidency, sent out a letter in June to be read at all California congregations asking members to “do all you can” to support the gay marriage ban.

“The church's teachings and position on this moral issue are unequivocal. Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained by God,” Mormon leaders said. The leaders also urged members to donate their “means and time” in support of the gay marriage ban.

Mormon leaders say gay marriage is incompatible with Mormon theology. According to church doctrine, Mormons must be married to achieve “exaltation” – the ultimate state in the afterlife – where they retain their gender and give birth to spirit children.

“This all explains the Mormon difficulty with homosexuality,” Terryl Givens, a professor of literature and religion at the University of Richmond told The Wall Street Journal.

Mormons believe homosexuality is a moral issue. While the 13-million member church has issued a statement saying that being gay is not a sin, non-celibate gays and lesbians face possible excommunication if exposed.

Mormons quickly heeded the church's invocation, making donations large and small and even setting up a website allowing outsiders to track their giving at

Other religious organizations have also contributed heavily to the anti-gay measure. The Knights of Columbus, the political arm of the Catholic Church of New Haven, Connecticut, gave $1.2 million, and organizations representing Evangelical Christians – American Family Association, Focus on the Family and Concerned Women for America – have given a combined $1.4 million.

On the Net: Californians Against Hate website at