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ACLU donates $1.2 million to defeat proposed Calif. marriage amendment

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (BP)–Supporters of a constitutional marriage amendment in California are asking constituents to help match a $1.2 million donation the American Civil Liberties Union’s northern California branch gave in recent days to help defeat the proposal.

The ACLU’s Sept. 3 gift to the No on 8, Equality for All campaign is the largest single gift yet to opponents of the amendment, known as Proposition 8, according to the California secretary of state’s website. If passed this fall, the amendment would protect the natural definition of marriage and reverse a May decision by the California Supreme Court legalizing “gay marriage.”

“The ACLU is picking this fight for a reason,” Steve Linder, finance director for ProtectMarriage.com, the leading organization supporting the amendment, wrote in an e-mail to constituents. “They know that if we fail, there will be nothing stopping them and their radical vision for a society dictated to by activist judges.”

The ACLU, Linder said, is known for “undermining religious liberty, supporting the legalization of heroin and cocaine, and working to water down laws against sex offenders.” And now, Linder said, the ACLU is known as being the top sponsor “of a campaign to overturn the institution of marriage as it’s existed for thousands of years.”

“Their radical agenda cannot be allowed to win in California,” Linder wrote.

ProtectMarriage.com’s goal, he said, is to raise money from thousands of supporters totaling $1.2 million.

“What will it take to meet this goal?” he asked. “12,000 people giving an average of $100 — or just 6,000 giving an average of $200. This is our biggest challenge yet — but one I am confident we can meet.”

Fundraising is key to the success of the two campaigns in what is expected to be a very tight race. The Los Angeles Times quoted a consultant in August as saying a one-week statewide TV ad campaign this fall would cost $5 million.

Both sides have raised substantial amounts of money, although it’s difficult to gauge who is leading. The Times posted a tally on its website Sept. 5 showing that Prop 8 supporters have raised $12.8 million, opponents $10.3 million. It’s unclear whether ACLU’s donation was included in that tally, which was drawn from data on the California secretary of state’s website.

Additionally, supporters of “gay marriage” in California have launched a series of TV ads that are unregulated because they don’t mention Proposition 8. The pro-“gay marriage” ads — backed by a group called Let California Ring — show a bride being tripped as she walks down the aisle. The groom tries to assist her but is held back. The ad ends with the question, “What if you couldn’t marry the person you love?” It’s unknown how much money is being spent on the ads — donations for the ads don’t have to be reported to the state — but ProtectMarriage.com estimates that it’s around $6 million. If that’s the case, then supporters of “gay marriage” have a substantial lead in donations.

Donations to the effort to pass Proposition 8 can be made online at ProtectMarriage.com. Out-of-state donations are legal.

Messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in June passed a resolution urging Southern Baptists in California to work and vote for the amendment there and for all Southern Baptists and other Christians to pray for its passage. The resolution passed nearly unanimously.
Michael Foust is an assistant editor of Baptist Press.

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