Maine marriage restoration effort collects signatures and half-million in donations
Maine Gov. John Baldacci
Maine Gov. John Baldacci

.- Marriage restoration advocates have raised almost $350,000 between June 3 and July 3 in their effort to return the state’s legal definition of marriage to being between a man and a woman. Their latest fundraising efforts have netted nearly $500,000.

The Maine legislature recently enacted a same-sex “marriage” law, which may be overturned by a “people’s veto” on the ballot. Supporters must submit 55,087 signatures to have the proposal placed on the ballot and to stop the law from going into effect in September.

Between June and July, Stand for Marriage Maine, the group spearheading the effort to defend traditional marriage, received  $100,000 from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland from a special fund, which did not use church collections. The New Jersey-based National Organization for Marriage, which helped pass Proposition 8 in California, contributed $160,000.

Other donations from organizations included $50,000 from the Knights of Columbus, and $31,000 from the Focus on the Family Maine Marriage Committee.

However, the group only received $400 from individuals. Documents at MaineCampaignFinance.com showed all individual donors were Maine residents.

“It’s a long haul, but we’ve got a good start,” Mark Mutty, one of the group’s campaign leaders, told the Bangor Daily News.

Discussing the small number of individual donations, he said the group’s website has been up for less than two weeks. He predicted a significant increase in donors as the campaign advances.

He predicted his group would seek the “People’s Veto” with an amount of signatures “well in excess of the minimum” by early August.

An organization seeking to retain the same-sex “marriage” law, Maine Freedom to Marry, reported it raised almost $140,000 during the same period. Its leaders said more than $81,000 of that money came from Maine residents.

However, $50,000 of that donation total came from a single individual, Emergent Music CEO Diane Sammer. The anti-marriage group also received a $10,000 donation from the ACLU and a $25,000 contribution from the Human Rights Campaign.

Documents at filed with the state showed that just under half of the individual donors for the group were from out of state.

“This campaign is going to win because we have extraordinary grass-roots support from regular Mainers,” said Jesse Connolly, Maine Freedom to Marry’s campaign manager. He said the group expected to be outspent by “those who would deny lesbian and gay couples the right to marry.”

“This is an issue that speaks to people’s hearts,” he said.

Speaking to the Maine Public Broadcasting Network, Stand for Marriage’s Mutty said he regretted the amount of money required for the campaign.

"Certainly it's a shame that this kind of money has to go into these kinds of efforts, but that's the nature of the beast these days. These campaigns cost a lot of money and you can't prevail unless you're competitive."

Stand for Marriage Maine’s website is at http://standformarriagemaine.com/

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