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Spending on Prop 8 battle tops $60 million

October 26, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
California's Proposition 8 has generated nearly $60 million in campaign contributions so far, making the fight over same-sex marriage over the most costly ballot initiative in the country this year, it was reported Sunday. Supporters of Proposition 8, so far, have raised $27.5 million, with about 19 percent of the money coming from outside California. Opponents have raised $31.2 million, with 34 percent of the money coming from outside the state, reported the Los Angeles Times.

California law permits donors to give unlimited sums on ballot measure, opening the way for million-dollar donors.

Many donors cite religious beliefs, with members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints emerging as the largest source of money to the Yes- on-8 effort. Mormons contributed about 40 percent of its war chest.

On the opposite end, primary contributors have included celebrities, liberal groups including the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, public employee unions and gay philanthropists.

Specifically, Elsa Prince, a contributor to Republican causes and candidates including Republican Presidential nominee John McClain, gave $450,000 to support Proposition 8. She is the mother of Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater Worldwide, the private firm that provides security in Iraq.

On the flip side, Jon Stryker of Kalamazoo, Mich., a billionaire heir to a medical supply fortune, gave $1.06 million to defeat Proposition 8. David Maltz of Cleveland, a major Democratic donor, added another $1 million.

The California Teachers Association spent $1.3 million -- more than any other single donor -- to defeat Proposition 8.

The California arm of the Service Employees International Union threw in $500,000.

The Yes-on-8 campaign have been particularly adept at getting small donations, with 30 percent of its money coming from contributors giving $1,000 or less.

Between 2004 and 2006, 22 such measures were on ballots around the country, and donations to all of them combined totaled $31.4 million, according to the nonpartisan National Institute on Money in State Politics.

Although many initiatives are largely funded by parties with an economic interest in them, reports The Times, Proposition 8 contributors by and large have nothing to gain financially from the measure's passage or defeat.


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