Sexual Persuasion:

October 24, 2005

In Gay-Marital Amendment Spat, Tolerant Give More Than Intolerant

Eight political committees seeking to influence a proposed state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages reported that they had raised more than $500,000 one month before the November 8 election.

PACs opposing the amendment raised more than three times the amount reported by PACs supporting "Proposition 2." The PACs collectively have spent three-fifths of all that they raised to influence voters.

Amendment opponents have run a much more grassroots campaign, itemizing almost 2,000 checks with an average size of less than $200. In contrast, amendment supporters itemized just 9 checks from a total of just seven donors. These checks averaged more than $13,523 apiece.

Two big donors--San Antonio's James Leininger and Houston's Bob Perry--supplied 90 percent of all the money raised to support the amendment.

Leininger founded a company that makes high-tech hospital beds (Kinetic Concepts) and later launched organic milk producer Promised Land Dairy. Bob Perry of Bob Perry Homes bankrolled Swift Boat Veterans for Truth's attack ads against John Kerry. He is Texas' No. 1 political donor.


Prop. 2's Opponents Give More Money

Marital Position
Against Amendment $391,484 $298,011
For Amendment $121,712 $30,200
TOTAL: $513,196 $328,211


Gay-Marital-Spat PACs

Prop. 2
On Hand
No Nonsense In November
$160,746 $85,680 $74,801
Vote Against the Amendment
$159,695 $159,695 $0
Texans FOR Marriage
$108,324 $20,000 ?
No Nonsense in 2006 PAC
$42,219 $29,032 $13,156
Stonewall Democrats of Dallas PAC
$27,463 $23,081 $6,514
Focus on the Family Texas Marriage Amendment Committee
$3,213 $0 ?
Texans United
$1,360 $523 ?
Texas Marriage Alliance
$10,175 $10,200 $0
$513,735 $328,211 $94,471+?
Note: Data from October 11, 2005 "30-Day-Out" reports filed with the Texas Ethics Commission. Three pre-existing PACs ("No Nonsense in 2006" and "Stonewall Democrats of Dallas" and "Texas Marriage Alliance") also include data going back as far as January 1, 2005, where applicable.


Other large pro-amendment donors include the affiliated Free Market Foundation and Focus on the Family, headed by Colorado evangelical James Dobson. Dobson recently made headlines over U.S. Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers. After a conversation with presidential advisor Karl Rove, Dobson reassured other conservatives that Miers would battle abortion from the bench. Speaking about abortion in a radio broadcast last month, Dobson said, "When you know some of the things that I know--that I probably shouldn't know--you will understand why I have said, with fear and trepidation, that I believe Harriet Miers will be a good justice."

Another donor, Florida-based Design4 Marketing Communications produces ads for conservative Christian groups. These include controversial television spots about "reformed" former homosexuals that the firm produced in 2000 for Americans for Truth About Homosexuality.


Top Anti-Amendment Contributors

Tim Gill Denver $100,000
National Gay & Lesbian Task Force D.C. $59,695
Human Rights Campaign D.C. $25,000
Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of TX Austin $25,000
Citizens for Equality Dallas $6,000
M E Starks Dallas $6,000
Karen P Zeligson Dallas $5,000
TX AFL-CIO State COPE PAC Austin $5,000
Glen Maxey Consulting Austin $4,080
Marion S. Friedman Houston $4,000
Thomas G Duckworth Sn Antonio $3,100
J David Hardt Dallas $3,050
Kathy Connell Dallas $3,000
TX Equity PAC Austin $2,700
Jay K Willems Austin $2,550
Stephen Adler Austin $2,500
Jay W Oppenheimer Dallas $2,500
Donald L. Payette Austin $2,500
Jeff Jung Sn Antonio $2,000
Gina Menicucci Sn Francisco $2,000


All Itemized Pro-Amendment Contributors

James Leininger San Antonio $100,000
Bob Perry Houston $10,000
Free Market Foundation Plano $5,474
Focus on the Family  Colorado Sprgs $3,213
Design4 Marketing Communications Brandon, FL $2,250
Houston Area Pastor Council Houston $600
Cheryl De Cordova San Angelo $75


Denver's Tim Gill was the top donor opposing the amendment. Gill is the openly gay founder of Quark software. He also founded a foundation that supports gay causes. Gill and the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force supplied almost 41 percent of all the anti-amendment money. Other national and Texas-based gay rights groups were this side's next-largest donors.

The political consulting firm of former Democratic state Representative Glen Maxey, who is coordinating opposition to Prop. 2, was another significant donor opposing the amendment. After Maxey got the Texas legislature to expand children's health insurance coverage in 1999, this openly gay lawmaker said that then-Governor Bush, who had opposed Maxey on the issue, walked onto the House floor to congratulate him. In an account that a gubernatorial spokesperson disavowed, Maxey said that Bush told him, "I value you as a person, and I value you as a human being, and I want you to know, Glen, that what I say publicly about gay people doesn’t pertain to you."

The PAC reports analyzed above do not reflect the political activities of the Texas Restoration Project (TRP), a new group run by ministers who seek to register 300,000 parishioners as new voters. The Texas Freedom Network, which advocates the separation of church and state, filed a complaint this month urging the Texas Ethics Commission to investigate allegations that TRP is improperly promoting Prop. 2 without registering as a PAC. Rev. Laurence White, who heads TRP, has said that his group does not endose candidates or ballot initiatives. TRP and Prop. 2 have enjoyed high-profile support from Texas Governor Rick Perry--who has worked harder than other recent Texas governors to project the image of a non-alternative lifestyle.