May 21, 2018
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Campaigns on both sides of gay marriage nearly tied in recent fundraising

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff

AUGUSTA, Maine — Supporters of same-sex marriage continue to outpace the opposition in fundraising but by a much smaller margin than earlier this year, according to the latest reports filed with the state Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices.

Mainers United for Marriage, the campaign urging Mainers to vote yes on Question 1, raised about $964,000 during the most recent reporting period of Oct. 1-23. So far, supporters of gay marriage have raised a total of $4.3 million. The largest contributor for the period was the Human Rights Campaign Fund, based in Washington, D.C., which gave the campaign more than $300,000.

The organization opposing the referendum, Protect Marriage Maine, raised nearly $950,000 during the same period, bringing its total to $1.4 million. It received $800,000 in first three weeks of October from the National Organizations for Marriage, based in Washington, D.C., and another $100,000 from the Knights of Columbus.

Supporters also received more in-kind contributions than opponents did. The campaigns received $353,353 and $1,173, respectively, in in-kind contributions.

Question 1 will ask voters if they want to allow marriage licenses to be issued to same-sex couples. Three years ago, Mainers repealed 53 percent to 47 percent a law that would have legalized gay marriage.

In 2009, the campaign that wanted the law to remain in place spent about $4 million compared to the $2.5 million spent by those who wanted to repeal it. Earlier this year, supporters of same-sex marriage predicted it would spend between $4 and $5 million on the campaign. Opponents said they would raise less than half of that.

If voters in Maine were to pass Question 1, it would be the first state in the nation to approve gay marriage by a referendum vote. Same-sex marriage has been legalized in six states by lawmaker or the courts.

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