Roman Catholic Church Leadership Poured $2 Million Into Fight Against Marriage Equality: REPORT

The Huffington Post  |  By Sara Gates Posted: 11/15/2012

While the results of this election represented a monumental victory in the fight for marriage equality, it turned out to be quite a costly one for the Catholic Church.

During the election cycle, leaders of the Roman Catholic Church directed nearly $2 million toward campaigns against gay marriage in four states, according to a recent report from the Human Rights Campaign. Many of the contributions, derived from dioceses across the country, likely came from parishioners who had no knowledge of what the money would be used for, the HRC noted in a press release.

The $2 million represents a significant share of the contributions used to fund anti-gay marriage campaigns in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington. However, including contributions from the National Organization for Marriage and the Knights of Columbus, an affiliate of the Catholic Church, the three groups were responsible for funding about $11.3 million or 65 percent of campaign efforts against marriage equality in the four states.

Despite these substantial contributions, voters chose to legalize gay marriage in Maine, Maryland and Washington, while Minnesota voters struck down Amendment 1, which would have defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

“The Church and NOM can continue pouring money into discriminating against LGBT people, but the writing is on the wall for their anti-equality agenda,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement. “The Roman Catholic hierarchy should be focusing on taking actions that actually improve people’s lives, not spending precious resources on spreading malicious lies aimed at tearing down an entire community of people.”

The HRC analyzed the publicly reported donations, finding the Catholic Church and its affiliates spent nearly $1.3 million on campaigns in Minnesota, which accounted for 25 percent of anti-gay marriage efforts. In Maryland, the church contributed to a majority of Maryland’s $1.7 million anti-gay war chest (final figures will be available at the month’s end).

The overall contributions in Washington were significantly smaller, with the Catholic Church contributing $307,000 to campaigns against marriage equality. Opponents in Maine raised $1.4 million for the fight against gay marriage, 85 percent of which was funded by the Catholic Church and the National Organization for Marriage.

According to a Pew Research Center poll released earlier this year, Catholics who support gay marriage outnumber those who oppose it at 52 percent to 37 percent.


One thought on “Roman Catholic Church Leadership Poured $2 Million Into Fight Against Marriage Equality: REPORT

  1. While it is certainly true that this article appeared in Huff Post, and that Huff Post is “GLBT sympathetic”, this article illustrates a deep malaise within the Catholic church.

    As the last sentence points out, over half the flock support gay marriage, and only about a third oppose it.

    To squander funds like this, opposing it, when those funds were better used for charitable purposes, is an outrage.

    This kind of thing is tearing the church apart, around the world, with millions of Catholics withdrawing all their support for a church hierarchy which seems hell bent on clinging to medieval mysticism and entrenching some kind of elite group at the top, which increasingly exists purely for its own purposes.

    Jean Pierre


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