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Outraised 5 to 1, Prop 8 backers issue plea

Updated 11:56 Eastern with new figures

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (BP)–Having been out-fundraised by more than 5-to-1 this month in large donations, supporters of a California constitutional marriage amendment are warning they will lose on Election Day unless they receive a heavy influx of donations in the next week.

Thanks mostly to money from Hollywood, homosexual activist groups and the California Teachers Union, opponents of Proposition 8 have raised $11.3 million this month, supporters $2.3 million, according to data on the California secretary of state’s website. This week alone, from Sunday through Thursday (Oct. 19-23), opponents raised $3 million to supporters’ $844,000. The aforementioned state data includes only donations of $1,000 or more.

It’s unclear whether the figures for opponents include $4 million brought in at a Tuesday Hollywood fundraiser attended by Barbra Streisand and Rob Reiner. Melissa Etheridge and Mary J. Blige performed.

ProtectMarriage.com, the main organization behind Proposition 8, led by a wide margin in fundraising through the end of September — which helped them take the lead in public polls — but opponents apparently have caught up and possibly taken the lead. One new poll shows Prop 8 backers trailing.

If passed, Prop 8 would overturn the California Supreme Court’s May decision legalizing “gay marriage.”

Frank Schubert, campaign manager for ProtectMarriage.com, sent an unusually forthright e-mail to in-state and out-of-state supporters Thursday saying the campaign must raise $3 million in the next week “or we’re going to lose.” The e-mail says Prop 8 opponents are outspending supporters by $3 million on television this week. Some of the largest donations for both sides have come from out of state.

“The institution of marriage is in cardiac arrest in California and I am pleading with you to help save it,” he wrote. “… Marriage as we know it is in a life or death moment.”

The shortage of cash comes at a time when Prop 8 opponents are releasing a new TV ad featuring state superintendent of public schools Jack O’Connell, who claims in the ad that “gay marriage” legalization will not impact what is taught in public schools — a message meant to counter TV ads put out by Prop 8 backers.

The aforementioned poll, by the Public Policy Institute of California, had the amendment losing, 52-44 percent among likely voters. But the poll had good news for supporters: 69 percent of Prop 8 supporters say the outcome of the vote on the amendment is “very important,” compared to 49 percent of Prop 8 opponents who said the same. That could mean Prop 8 backers are more energized and more likely to vote.

Two previous polls by SurveyUSA had the amendment narrowly ahead, with the latest poll showing a 48-45 advantage. Both sides say turnout will be critical.

“If you love the institution of marriage, this is one of those moments that you will remember the rest of your life,” Schubert wrote. “This is the moment when people of faith were given the chance to make a great sacrifice and save this precious institution. We have all worked hard as volunteers and contributors, but this is the moment when traditional marriage as we know it will either live, or it will die.”

ProtectMarriage.com released its latest TV ad earlier this week, showcasing Robb and Robin Wirthlin of Lexington, Mass. “After Massachusetts legalized gay marriage,” Robin Wirthlin says, “our son came home and told us the school taught him that boys can marry other boys. He’s in second grade!” Robb adds, “We tried to stop public schools from teaching children about gay marriage, but the court said we had no right to object or to pull him out of class.” The scene then shift to a woman in a classroom, who says, “It’s already happened in Massachusetts. Gay marriage will be taught in our schools unless we vote yes on Proposition 8.”

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. Additionally, in September the executive board of the California Southern Baptist Convention unanimously passed a resolution endorsing the amendment.
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.

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