The pro-gay marriage campaign in Maine
announced Friday it had raised nearly twice as much money as
opponents of gay marriage, but the contest remains tight.
Campaign finance reports filed with the
state reveal No on1/Protect Maine Equality collected more than $4
million to fight off an effort by Stand for Marriage Maine to repeal
a recently enacted gay marriage law in Maine.
Stand for Marriage Maine, the group
that organized in the spring to repeal the law, reported raising $2.5
The Maine contest, however, pales in
comparison to the $80 million spent last November in California to
ban gay marriage.
Maine's Question 1 is the first time
voters have been asked to affirm – or reject – a gay marriage law
approved by lawmakers, instead of banning gay marriage, as in
If Question 1 is rejected on November
3, Maine's gay marriage law would remain on the books.
The contest has become a must win for
conservatives whose rhetoric on who should decide on gay marriage has
whittled down to voters now that 3 states – Maine, Vermont and New
Hampshire – have approved gay marriage legislatively. High courts
in Iowa, Massachusetts and Connecticut legalized gay marriage when
they ruled bans unconstitutional. Massachusetts lawmakers, however,
decided not to pursue a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage,
an effective endorsement of such unions.
The campaigns had until Friday to file
their latest reports to the Commission on Governmental Ethics and
No on 1's report showed a large number
of contributions in the $50-$1,000 range. Several individuals made
large contributions, including Donald Sussman of North Haven who gave
$300,000 and Paul Singer of New York who pitched in $100,000. The
Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay rights advocate, is
listed as giving $49,000.
The opposition reported the National
Organization for Marriage (NOM) and the Roman Catholic Diocese of
Portland as its two largest donors. Both groups are behind Stand for
NOM has contributed $1.5 million to
repeal gay marriage in the Pine State so far, while the diocese has
given $550,000, which includes money raised by churches from
individuals during a special collection and other out-of-state
While gay marriage advocates maintain
the money advantage, the contest remains tight. The most recent poll
shows Mainers evenly divided with 48% on each side. The Public
Policy Polling survey asked 1,130 likely voters how they intend to
vote on Question 1. Previous polls, however, have shown the ballot
measure trailing. Such as last week's Pan Atlantic SMS Group Omnibus
Poll of 401 likely voters that found 52% of respondents in favor of
gay marriage and 48% opposed.
Repeal in Maine could benefit opponents
in other battlegrounds where lawmakers favor granting gay and lesbian
couples the right to marry, including New York, New Jersey and the
District of Columbia. New York and the District already
recognize gay marriages formed outside their borders.