Saturday, October 24, 2009

Latest Financial Filings of Campaign to Remove Right of Marriage from Maine's Gay Citizens: Big Money from Catholic Diocese and NOM, Donors Unknown

Yesterday, groups seeking to remove the right of marriage from gay citizens of Maine released totals of the funds they’ve taken in for their campaign since their last filings, in response to a state filing deadline (see here, here, here, here, and here). Interesting information in these financial reports.

Note that they do not reveal the actual source of the donations to the campaign to remove the right of marriage from gay citizens of Maine. It’s that donor information that the National Organization of Marriage is suing Maine for the right to withhold from the public.

Turns out that the financially strapped Catholic diocese of Portland, Maine, which is closing parishes and Catholic schools due to financial shortfalls, has ponied up another $152,600 this month to remove the right of marriage from Maine’s gay citizens. As with its previous $100,000 donation to the campaign, however, the Portland diocese and Marc Mutty, the diocesan employee heading the anti-gay marriage campaign, have no clear idea of the source of this recent chunk of money.

For its first big donation to the campaign, Mutty said that the money came from “dedicated revenues” whose source he didn’t really know. The current hefty chunk, it turns out, is from an equally mysterious “rainy day fund” that has been curiously unavailable to save the parishes and schools the diocese is closing.

And the National Organization for Marriage is reporting that, since October 1, it has dropped an additional $1.1 million into the coffers of the campaign against the rights of Maine’s gay citizens. NOM is divulging no information about the source of that hefty sum. Once again, this is the information NOM is seeking to conceal by suing the state of Maine.

As Jesse Connolly, head of the No on 1 campaign (the campaign to protect the right of Maine’s gay citizens to marry), notes (see the set of links at the head of the posting), the contrast between the information in the No on 1 filings and that in the diocesan and NOM filings couldn’t be sharper. The No on 1 campaign is drawing its funds largely from individual donors in Maine and across the nation who are committed to safeguarding human rights.

By contrast, the assault on the right to marriage of Maine’s gay citizens is being spearheaded by two deep-pocket groups, the local Catholic diocese and the National Organization to marriage, both of which are not disclosing the source of the funds they’re using to mount this assault.

With Maggie Gallagher, a Catholic, as NOM’s president, and Marc Mutty, an employee of the Portland diocese, heading the Maine No on 1 campaign, the claim of the Catholic church to care about human rights anywhere in the world looks pretty weak, doesn’t it? Not to mention transparency and accountability. And democratic process.

And telling the truth.