Rather fitting, considering everything the Catholic Church in Minnesota is doing to ensure the mean-spirited marriage amendment gets passed.
In an article from September, the Star Tribune shared that Minnesota Catholics would receive a letter from the church urging them to donate to amendment supporters.
The Trib quotes a political science professor John Green, who says the act is “unusual” compared to what the church has done in other states:
“I can’t think of anything as direct and as explicit,” Green said. “I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with it legally, but certainly I’m sure it’s very controversial. Catholic leaders have been involved in fundraising. I know of examples where they have reached out to parishioners, but I’ve never heard of anything quite this comprehensive.”
Jason Adkins, executive director of Minnesota Catholic Conference, shares:
The mailing “gives Catholics an opportunity to support the passage of the amendment and asks them to send a contribution to where it will be most effective,” Adkins’ letter states. In an interview Monday, Adkins said the mailing is being coordinated and paid for by his group and will cost close to $100,000.
Another $100,000 the church is spending just to send out letters asking for more money! When will this insanity stop?
The Trib article goes on to highlight to continued significant role the Catholic Church has played in funding amendment supporters here in Minnesota.
However, not all Catholics believe that limiting the rights and freedoms of some citizens is in the best interest of the Church. According to Diane Haugesag:
The church has other things it should be spending its money on … feeding the hungry, providing homes for the homeless.
I see this focus on one issue and it’s extremely divisive, which I don’t think serves the church no matter what side you’re on.
How very true. When all is said and done, the Catholic Church will have spent millions of dollars in an attempt to enshrine inequality into the state constitution in Minnesota. That’s just sad.
While we may not get the National Organization for Marriage on actual campaign finance violations (due to fancy footwork and silly loopholes), we do get additional insight into their strategies through subpoenaed court documents.
In a report called “Not a Civil Right Project,” NOM highlights it’s plan to “drive a wedge between gays and blacks.”
The organization hoped to “(f)ind, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage, develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots,” thereby “fanning the hostility” between two groups it sees as “key Democratic constituencies.”
Like I said, we may not actually catch them on legal violations, but we sure continue to get insight into their shady dealings. Provides a lot more insight into why there is such a prevalence of support in African American communities; the National Organization for Marriage is helping make that so.
In February, I posted a blog titled, “So Much for Disclosure Laws” highlighting the fact that the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) funneled donations through other organizations to fund their campaign to pass the amendment. A month later, I shared how organizations fighting to pass the marriage amendment in Minnesota were under investigation. Sadly, in July I shared that the disclosure complaint was dismissed because of technical rules in the disclosure laws.
Now, there’s news that Yes on 8, the campaign that fought to pass Prop 8 in California, was found guilty on multiple counts of not disclosing donors. The impact? The organization may be required to pay $49,000.
Years after Prop 8 is passed, Yes on 8 is found guilty for breaking the law and nothing changes in California. So what’s the point of the law in the first place? These cases highlight the fact that donation disclosure laws in this country are simply a joke.
Financial figures for January 1-July 10 were released last week. Those who oppose amending the state constitution to limit rights of some and define something that is already law in Minnesota, are out raising the other side nearly 4 to 1. Minnesotans United for All Families has now raised just under $5.4 million, whereas Minnesota for Marriage has raised nearly $1.5 million.
However, Minnesota for Marriage Chairman, John, Helmberger, is not at all worried that the amendment will be defeated:
Various studies elsewhere have shown that for all the millions spent in marriage amendment campaigns, there aren’t a lot of minds that are changed
While people who are staunch believers on either side may not change their mind, there is a contingent who still have not made up their minds. According to University of Minnesota political scientist Larry Jacobs, that number might be as high as 20% of voters.
While that persuadable middle is critical, getting folks out to vote is just as important. Helmberger is right when he shares that other states have seen similar fundraising and have still passed this thing. Raising the funds to defeat this mean-spirited amendment isn’t enough. We must continue to tell our personal stories and we must continue to encourage our friends, family and co-workers to get out and vote NO. This is the key to success in Minnesota. This is our key to being the first state to defeat this amendment!
Last week, campaign finance reports were published from both sides and the NO side is clearly outfunding the opposition. MN United for All Families has raised $4.6 million dollars from more than 19,000 individual donors since the start of the campaign.
If you’re wondering how that breaks down in-state/out-of-state, here are the numbers from MN United:
========================== Campaign to Date Total: $4,608,663 In State: $3,921,618 Out-of-state: $687,045 Percentage In State: 85 percent
Total individual donors: 19,394 Total individual donors from MN: 18,051 Percentage of individual donors from MN: 93 percent ==========================
Over 85 percent of donations have come from within the state of Minnesota and over 90% of individual donors are from here. This is really important to highlight. It means that real Minnesotans are speaking out against the amendment through their donations.
If you look at the groups trying to rewrite our state constitution to enshrine discrimination, they’ve raised $1.4 million. Nearly 20% of those dollars come from the National Organization for Marriage who I’ve posted about several times on this blog (search NOM on the right for additional info). Here’s the full funding breakdown from the other side.
As for individual donors? Minnesota for Marriage lists the names of only 25 individual donors. Yes, you read that right. Only 25 Minnesotans have given directly to the campaign.
I posted a while back about how our political donation disclosure laws, designed to bring visibility to where election monies come from, have some pretty big loopholes. Clearly, we see the amendment backers using these loopholes to funnel money into the campaign.