SACRAMENTO, Calif. (BP)–One week after issuing a plea for donations, supporters of a constitutional marriage amendment have surpassed their goal — raising more than $5 million — although it remains to be seen whether it will be enough.
Frank Schubert, campaign manager for ProtectMarraige.com, the main group behind Proposition 8, sent an e-mail to in-state and out-of-state supporters Oct. 23 warning that unless the campaign raised $3 million “in the next week, we’re going to lose.” Since that day and through Wednesday’s figures posted on the California secretary of state’s website, the campaign has raised $5.2 million, bringing the total for the month to $7.45 million. The figures include only donations of $1,000 and larger.
Schubert’s plea came as opponents of the amendment were enjoying an influx of money from various groups. Prop 8 opponents have raised $14.68 million this month — double what supporters have hauled in — including $4.3 since Oct. 23. Included in that mix for October was a $1 million donation from the California Teachers Association, $1 million from the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Services Center and $100,000 from talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. Additionally, opponents brought in $4 million at a Hollywood fundraising event.
With the Election Day result possibly hinging on funding television and radio advertisements, ProtectMarriage.com sent an e-mail to supporters Wednesday saying donations are still needed. If passed, Prop 8 would overturn a California Supreme Court ruling that legalized “gay marriage.”
“The opposition has raised millions of dollars that they’ve poured into television and radio ads aimed at convincing voters that Prop. 8 is a ‘discriminatory issue’ that bears no consequences,” the e-mail read. “Think about it — they are effectively accusing people who believe in traditional marriage of being bigots! Well we know better, and will not be silenced. We may be outspent, but we will continue to let Californians know the truth behind the legalization of same-sex marriage.”
Among the top givers during the past week for ProtectMarriage.com were Alan Ashton of Lindon, Utah., who gave $1 million; the U.S. Conference on Catholic Bishops, which gave $200,000; and Focus on the Family, which gave $100,000.
Meanwhile — with charges going back and forth on the issue — ProtectMarriage.com has challenged California Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell to a live debate that would focus on whether “gay marriage” would be taught in public schools if it remains legal.
“The No on Proposition 8 campaign has been airing television and radio ads featuring Jack O’Connell accusing us of running a ‘shameful’ campaign,” Ron Prentice, chairman of Protectmarriage.com, said in a news release. “There is nothing shameful about telling the truth. This is the most critical issue of the campaign. Voters deserve an opportunity to hear for themselves what will happen, and indeed what is already happening, if we do not restore traditional marriage in California on Election Day. Given his strong statements, I’m sure O’Connell will have no problem accepting.”
California law requires schools that teach comprehensive sex-education to include “instruction and materials” that “teach respect for marriage and committed relationships.” According to data on the state website, 96 percent of school districts teach sex-ed and would be required to teach that marriage includes homosexual couples.
In an acknowledgement that likely won’t appease many pro-family voters, Hilary McLean, spokeswoman for O’Connell, told The Bakersfield Californian, “[Teachers] could say ‘marriage is an institution between two adults that have a legal responsibility to each other.'”
Michael Foust is an assistant editor of Baptist Press. For more information about the California marriage amendment, or to learn how you can help it pass, visit ProtectMarriage.com.