Same-sex marriage backers raise $3.2 million

The main group supporting same-sex marriage in Maryland has raised $3.2 million and still has $1.2 million in its war chest to defend the law in the Nov. 6 referendum, according to a disclosure filed last night with the State Board of Elections.

Among the largest donors to Marylanders for Marriage Equality was New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who endorsed the Maryland measure in a statement he released Friday. The mayor contributed $250,000.

Meanwhile, the Maryland Marriage Alliance — leading the charge in opposition to the extension of civil marriage rights to gays and lesbians — reported that it has raised $838,000 and had a cash balance of $328,000.

More than half its total was accounted for by two large contributions — $400,000 from the National Organization for Marriage in Washington and $250,000 by the Knights of Columbus in New Haven, Conn.

The disclosures came late on the day of the deadline for ballot committees supporting or opposing Maryland ballot questions to file disclosures with the elections board.

Supporters of a law extending in-state tuition rates to some children of illegal immigrants were expected to disclose that they have raised $1.5 million to defend the measure thanks to five six-figure donations, including one from a group founded by the widow of Apple pioneer Steve Jobs.

Travis Tazelaar, campaign manager for Educating Maryland's Children, said the group will report that it received its largest contribution — $500,000 — from the Service Employees International Union. He said an organization founded by liberal billionaire George Soros, contributed $250,000 — as did the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The National Education Association kicked in $200,000.

The Emerson Collective, an organization founded by Laurene Powell Jobs, gave $100,000 to support the measure, known as the Dream Act.

Opponents of the act — who successfully petitioned the measure to referendum — have not established a ballot committee and have been unable to mount a high-profile campaign.

The main opposition committee in the fight over Question 7, which would expand gambling in Maryland, reported it collected $21.6 million by Oct. 7 – all of it from Penn National Gaming. Another group financed largely by MGM Resorts International had not yet filed Friday evening but is known to have raised more than $20 million.

Meanwhile, a new player entered the gambling fight as Wayne K. Curry, a former Prince George's County executive, registered a pro-Question 7 ballot committee Thursday.

Curry's committee, "Maryland First NOW - Vote Yes On 7," is separate from the ballot committee financed largely by MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment.

MGM is the prospective operator of a casino that could be built at National Harbor in Prince George's if Question 7 is approved by voters. Curry was the transition team chief for current Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, one of the leading supporters of a National Harbor casino.

Messages sent to Curry's email addresses Friday were not returned. A spokeswoman for the MGM-backed committee said she had not heard of the new entry into the high-stakes campaign, which has become the most expensive political contest in Maryland history.

A fourth referendum fight, involving redistricting, apparently will be a low-budget affair.

A committee set up to oppose Gov. Martin O'Malley's new congressional map has told the elections board that it raised less than $1,000 toward the Nov. 6 election. Repeal the Gerrymander, a group chaired by Republican activist Antonio Campbell, thus does not have to file the detailed financial disclosure required for committees that reach that threshold.

Supporters of the map have not formed a ballot committee.

michael.dresser@baltsun.com

Sun reporter Annie Linskey contributed to this article.

 

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