Friday, July 24, 2009

Out of state Hate

Poor Maine is suffering the indignity of a ballot referendum on gay marriage. Can you say, Proposition 8? All the usual suspects have been arriving: the Knights of Columbus, the Mormons, Maggie Gallagher's NOM group (of the Scary Video), and the Roman Catholic church.

The Sun Journal reports,
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland contributed $100,000, the Knights of Columbus of Washington, D.C., chipped in $50,000 and Focus on the Family, a Christian group based in Colorado Springs, Colo., donated $31,000 to the political action committee seeking to repeal the gay marriage law.

Nearly half of the group's fundraising, $160,000, came from the National Organization for Marriage, a New Jersey-based group.
However, quite interestingly, the paper also reports that
The campaign finance report also shows four Maine citizens contributed a total of $400 to the cause.
Four people from the state in question donated $400 of the $340,000 the haters have raised. Four people! By contrast,
Maine Freedom to Marry, the group campaigning to maintain the law, raised a total of about $138,000 from more than 350 donors during the same period, according to a release.

Donations from Mainers totaled about $80,000, with the remaining $58,000 coming from out of state.
So, Mainers themselves support marriage equality by a ratio of 350:4.

We saw this in California, when a flood of donations from out of state drove the Prop8 campaign to record expenditures. The Roman Catholic bishops provided political cover for the Mormons, and the conservative Catholic group the Knights of Columbus poured money into the state. Coupled with failures on the "No" side to mobilize and do outreach, this proved lethal. The final insult was the triumphalism of the SF and LA Archbishops in telling the gay community to shut up. So, the same thing in Maine so far....let's hope we can block that triumphalism thing and instead see a chastened statement of defeat.

An interesting question is where the Roman Catholic church gets all that money. Seems that RC in Maine has been in financial straits, closing down parishes. As the Sun Journal reported in a different article,
In the face of recent firings at the Trinity Catholic School and the plans for closing two Catholic parishes in Lewiston, both due to declining revenue, the revelation that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland had spent $100,000 on efforts to repeal the recently passed same-sex marriage law took some Catholics by surprise.

"I saw that $100,000 figure in the paper and it was very demoralizing," said David Webbert, an Augusta lawyer, who for years attended Auburn's St. Philip's Church with his family and now occasionally attends in Winthrop.
Remarkably, in an economic climate of joblessness and need, the Roman Catholic church in Maine can't keep churches open and can't help the poor, but it can sure attack the civil (not religious, but CIVIL) marriages of Mainers at great cost.

But as we've seen in Washington state, it's not about Marriage per se. It's about denying gay citizens any secular rights at all. And that, dear friends, is nothing more than hate.

Support Equality Maine.


James said...

There is no end to bigotry from the RC church. The defenders of equality should focus on the fact that non-Mainers are trying to dictate to Maine what it can and cannot do.

Thanks for a great post.

Erp said...

I wonder whether many in Maine donated to the Roman Catholic church in order to have it donated on to the 'cause'. It might be one way of hiding names.

Also to be correct Mainers donated $100,400 since the Catholic diocese of Portland is presumably Maine.

IT said...

Erp, they were counting "individuals" rather than institutions.

Thank you, James.

Cross posted at Daily Kos in hopes that more people might read it...

Erp said...

Actually it says 'donors' not 'individuals' for the pro-marriage group and a donor can be an organization (e.g., various Maine PFLAG groups). I can't imagine no organizations donated to Maine Freedom to Marry which would have to be the conclusion if donor means individual donors.

So the anti-marriage group has
$100,400 from Maine groups (1) or people (4)
$241,000 from groups outside the state (3)
~$1,400 from 1 other entity of unknown origin

for a total of $343,000 in 9 donors

about 29% of the anti-marriage support is from in-state

The pro-marriage group has
$80,000 from in state donors (numbers unknown)
$58,000 from out of state donors (numbers unknown)

for a total of $138,000 in 350 donors

about 57% of the pro-marriage support is from in-state

BTW have you seen this Sacramento Bee article?

IT said...

Thanks, Erp. NOt that article but I do have a post on that topic queued up for next week. Thank you for coming by as one of my few loyal readers!