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Follow the Money: Catholic Groups Emerge As Largest Donors In Marriage Battles

Jim Burroway

October 18th, 2012

Simultaneous to Equally Blessed’s report on the Knights of Columbus’ extensive donations against marriage equality since 2005, the Human Rights Campaign released its tabulations of contributions to the four 2012 battleground states in which marriage proposals are on the ballot. According to the HRC’s calculations, the Catholic Church and its affiliate organizations are providing more than half of the funds that have been raised so far against marriage equality in each of the four battleground states.

The major sources of funding include various dioceses and parishes of the Catholic Church itself, the Catholic charitable organization the Knights of Columbus, and the National Organization for Marriage, which has extensive ties to the Catholic hierarchy. The breakdown of Catholic spending against marriage equality in 2012 goes like this:

Minnesota: Of the nearly $1.2 million raised so far, $600,000 has come from the Minnesota Catholic Conference Marriage Defense fund, $135,000 from the Knights of Columbus and its local chapters, $188,200 from Catholic dioceses and parishes across the nation, and $23,000 from NOM. Nearly 78% of Minnesota’s anti-marriage funding has come from Catholic sources.

Maryland: Of the $855,00 raised so far, $250,000 has come from the Knights of Columbus, $400,000 from NOM, and $12,000 from the Maryland Catholic Conference. About 77% of Maryland’s anti-marriage funding has come from Catholic sources.

Washington: Of the 1.6 million raised so far, $675,939 has come from NOM, $250,000 from the Knights of Columbus, another $4,000 from a local Knights chapter, $5,000 from St. Monica Parish. About 58% of Washington’s anti-marriage funding has come from Catholic sources.

Maine: Of the $446,317 raised so far, $263,324 has come from NOM, and $1,135 from the Knights of Columbus. About 59% of Maine’s anti-marriage funding has come from those two sources.

These activities contrast sharply to public opinion polls which show that Roman Catholics increasingly support marriage quality for gays and lesbians. A Public Religion Research Poll in 2011 showed that nearly three quarters of self-identified Roman Catholics support civil recognition of marriage or civil unions, with 64% of weekly churchgoing Catholics holding that same opinion. In 2012, Catholic support for marriage equality has risen noticeably, particularly when the question is framed in terms of civil marriage. When same-sex marriage is defined as a civil marriage “like you get at city hall,” Catholic support for allowing gay couples to marry increases by 28 points, from 43% to 71%. (This large jump is undoubtedly due to the fact that Catholics — divorced Catholics in particular — are very attuned to the distinction between a civil marriage and a church marriage.) This latest data demonstrates a growing divide between lay Catholics and the actions of the Catholic Church and its affiliated institutions.



Lindoro Almaviva
October 18th, 2012 | LINK

I think it also demonstrates what we all knew all along: that the Catholic Church is on its was to a major skims or a major bought of infighting and soon. With the increasingly liberal views of the young, and the increasingly harsh rhetoric of the aging guard (which controls the purse strings and the power positions for at least the foreseeable 20-30 years) young Catholics who want to remain catholic will have to do some pushback.

This will mean a boom for the Anglican Church, or some ugly scenes in the pews. Some people do want to remain faithful to the church but the only way they will be able to do it is by exacting major change in it, and the dinosaurs will think they have the power to put down the rebellion. This is going to lead to schism or more bruises for the church.

October 18th, 2012 | LINK

Now if we can just pin down those major NOM contributors we’ll have a reasonably coherent picture of the big hate-funders. I suspect you’ll see the RC Church and its various organs high on the NOM lists as well. Smells incredibly incestuous, doesn’t it?

October 18th, 2012 | LINK

This “divide” has existed for quite a while. Those raised in Catholicism know that the hierarchy has little hold on the faithful.

October 18th, 2012 | LINK

Yet rank and file Catholics say that their money does not fund hate.

They simply do not know.

They think that they can easily write a check to buy their way into Heaven, then they do not give it another thought.

Timothy Kincaid
October 18th, 2012 | LINK

I love that they have correctly identified NOM as a Catholic organization.

To touch on Lindoro’s comment… I wonder if marriage equality is this century’s sale of indulgences?

David Wood
October 18th, 2012 | LINK

What is increasing clear is that the tax exemptions that the Catholic church and other denominations enjoy are now in jeopardy. Italy has very recently stopped the exemption and begun taxing the Catholic church there, and other countries may soon follow suit.

When these exemptions provide the funds to agressvely campaign for political purposes that discriminate, they can not be allowed to continue.

In this country we must begin a campaign to stop these exemptions. They were never intended to provide money for the hate that they engender!

October 18th, 2012 | LINK

“Knights of Columbus’ extensive donations against marriage quality

“Catholics increasingly support marriage quality

Was this a typo, or did you mean to say quality instead of equality? Because I actually kinda like it this way. ;)

Jim Burroway
October 18th, 2012 | LINK

Yeah, it was a typo. But as typos go, you gotta admit it has a clever ring.

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