Marriage amendment fundraising says a lot about the two campaigns

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The latest finance reports are out, and there are stark differences between MN United for All Families and Minnesotans for Mandatory Marriage Discrimination. MN United has developed a people-powered campaign, while the pro-discrimination forces are essentially a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Catholic Church and far-right special-interest groups. The Star Tribune has a look at the lopsided matchup:

The lead group opposing the amendment, Minnesotans United for All Families, has raised $5.96 million this year, including more than $2.5 million since the last report in July.

The group backing the amendment has raised $1.19 million overall in 2012, with more than 70 percent of the money coming from two organizations -the Minnesota Catholic Conference Marriage Defense Fund donated $600,000 and the Minnesota Family Council Marriage Protection Fund gave $250,000.

While Minnesota for Marriage has leaned heavily on several large donors to fund their campaign, the anti-amendment group Minnesotans United has drawn contributions from more than 44,000 people, more than 90 percent of them from Minnesota.

The differences between the two campaigns are striking. MN United has been running a dynamic, active campaign, reaching out to all Minnesotans to spark conversations about the amendment. The engagement they have inspired is evident from the number of donors to the campaign, as well as the amount they’ve raised.

Minnesotans for Mandatory Marriage Discrimination, on the other hand, has been far less active. Their lack of fundraising reflects their campaign strategy, which seems to be to simply sit back and hope that Minnesotans’ rapidly-growing support for equal marriage hasn’t reached 50 percent of likely voters yet.

Here’s the thing: the pro-discrimination camp doesn’t really need to raise much money. They’re not going to convince anybody to switch to their side. In the past, opposition to equal marriage was the default, but with every passing day, more and more people are rethinking their position. Support for equal marriage is growing rapidly. If the amendment were up for a vote in 2014, it would be defeated soundly.

Over time, Americans always support more civil rights, not less. That’s why the pro-discrimination campaign can’t do anything but hope the election takes place before their majority disappears forever. I believe they’re too late.