Roughly two-thirds of the money raised
by a coalition of gay rights groups campaigning to legalize gay
marriage in New York came from a group of conservative donors to the
Republican Party, the
New York Times reported.
About $1 million in donations delivered
in recent weeks to the nascent group New Yorkers United for Marriage
came from wealthy donors known for bankrolling right-leaning
candidates and causes, including Elliott Management Corp. CEO Paul E.
Singer, described by the paper as “one of the most generous
Republican donors in the country.”
Singer's promotion of marriage equality
first came to the forefront last year when he hosted a New York
fundraiser for the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), the
group created specifically to support a challenge to California's gay
marriage ban, Proposition 8.
also among the 24 prominent business leaders who last month signed
onto a letter urging lawmakers to legalize the institution in the
Other bankrollers to the cause are
Steven A. Cohen, who runs SAC Capital Advisers, and AQR Capital
Management's Clifford S. Asness, a self-described libertarian who has
previously praised the Tea Party.
“This is an issue of basic freedom,”
“We believe in social justice for all
Americans,” Cohen told the paper.
Singer, who serves as chairman of the
Manhattan Institute, a conservative research group, has a married gay
son, who lives in Massachusetts, where gay marriage was legalized in
2005, and, according to the paper, is deeply involved in the
fund-raising effort. He's donated nearly half-a-million of his own
money and has personally raised another $500,000 from donors.
New York City Mayor Michael R.
Bloomberg, a Republican turned independent and philanthropist, is
also deeply involved it the lobbying effort, and has given at least
$100,000 of his own money. He's also hosted fund-raisers and
a video ad urging New Yorkers to support the cause.
The pressure from inside the GOP tent
to support marriage equality could affect a key vote in the
Republican-controlled Senate, where a gay marriage bill died in 2009
when Democrats controlled the chamber with no Republican support.
Gay marriage opponents, led by New York
state Senator Ruben Diaz Sr., on Sunday will hold a rally against the
proposed legislation, and have
launched a campaign that characterizes the effort as an impending