Marriage amendment opponents raise $3.1 million since January

A group opposing a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman has raised $3.1 million since it last reported its finances in January.

Minnesotans United for All Families, a group formed solely to defeat the proposed change to the state’s constitution, has collected more than $4.6 million since the campaign started last year with roughly 85 percent of those dollars coming from donors in Minnesota.

“What this report shows is that the conversation we are having across this state is working, and that more and more, Minnesotans are coming to the conclusion that limiting the freedom to marry for same-sex couples is not how we do things in Minnesota,” said Richard Carlbom, campaign manager for Minnesotans United for All Families, in a press release.

Groups opposing and supporting the marriage amendment must submit their latest fundraising report to the state Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board by the end of the day.

The donations came from more 16,000 individual donors, with nearly 14,800 of them from Minnesota. Roughly $2.8 million of the group’s $3.1 million total came from Minnesota, while $289,358 came from out-of-state donors.

Minnesota for Marriage, the primary group supporting the constitutional amendment, says it raised $1.4 million, but has so far provided few details. The complete numbers will be available on the campaign finance board’s website tomorrow morning.

Minnesotans United for All Families has attracted some big-name support, including Gov. Mark Dayton, who is hosting a gay pride reception today.

Indeed, the Dayton name is spattered throughout the finance report. Dayton’s sons Andrew and Eric earlier this month pledged $200,000 in matching funds. According to the report, the two contributed more than $25,000 each to the group, and other members of the Dayton family donated as well.

Meanwhile, William Messinger, the current husband of Dayton’s ex-wife Alida Messinger, donated $10,200 to the cause.

Alida Messinger, the daughter of John D. Rockefeller III, is a prominent liberal donor who played an instrumental role in getting Dayton elected in 2010. Minnesotans United for All Families received a donation of $15,000 from the Rockefeller Family Fund; Eric Dayton serves as one of the fund’s trustees, according to a 2010 federal tax document.

Prominent Minnesota CEOs also donated to Minnesotans United for All Families. Cargill CEO Greg Page gave $1,000, General Mills CEO Ken Powell gave $10,000 and St. Jude CEO Daniel Starks gave $5,000. The latter two companies have publicly said they oppose the amendment.

Meanwhile, members of the Pohlad family gave more than $300,000 combined.

At the last fundraising reporting deadline in January, groups opposing the amendment had so far raised $1.2 million and groups that support the amendment raised a total of $1.3 million.

UPDATE: Here’s a statement from Minnesota for Marriage Chairman John Helmberger:

“We are thankful for the strong support of the people of Minnesota in our effort to preserve marriage as the union between one man and one woman in our State Constitution. Our opponents are raising money from same sex marriage activists across the country, and although we have always expected that they will outspend us, as marriage protection opponents have in every other state dealing with this issue, we are confident that the people of Minnesota will come together to raise the resources necessary to win and not let our state’s definition of marriage be defined by activist judges or liberal out of state organizations. We don’t have to match our opponents spending; we only need to mobilize people who believe marriage should be protected. We have the people of Minnesota on our side, and we remain confident of victory.”

LISTEN: Reporter Sasha Aslanian talks about this story on All Things Considered.

  • I’m proud to count myself as one of those 16,000 donors. As a Minnesotan I believe we will be the first state to defeat such an effort, and affirm that love is love.

    Would you trade your marriage or right to get married for anything else? I wouldn’t, and I think this is exactly why we should vote no on this freedom limiting amendment. Love is love, marriage is marriage.

    Defeating this amendment will take a broad base of support and Minnesotans United for All Families is building that base among donors and supporters right now. I’m sure the number of donors to this effort will keep growing as November gets closer. Vote No in November. Marriage is marriage, don’t limit freedom.

  • Ethan

    I’m proud to have made a small contribution as well by soliciting donations to the Campaign in lieu of birthday presents. Together, we are going to make history and defeat this anti-family, mean-spirited Amendment.

  • jerry

    I will vote NO on this question.

    Look to the (enduring) science fiction writers. Gender relations are still exciting but wide open.

  • George

    My wife and I will be voting no to this amendment in November because we feel that these US citizens, many of whom have fought in our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for us, deserve ther same rights as any other citizen of this country, and that includes the right to marry the person they love. God is about love, not hatred and exclusion! Vote no in November!

  • Eric Ferguson

    Voting NO is nice. Getting others to vote NO is what matters. There are still people who haven’t heard the pro-marriage case and are persuadable. If we don’t persuade them, the marriage ban can still pass. Other marriage bans have beaten the polls.