Republicans Donate Major Funds To NY Marriage Equality Campaign

In surprising news, several traditionally conservative ad wealthy Republicans who in the past have strongly supported GOP candidates and causes are providing a vast majority of the money in the campaign for marriage equality in New York.


The NY Times reports:

The new donations represent roughly two-thirds of the same-sex marriage coalition’s fund-raising, making New York the rare state where a lobbying campaign in favor of legalizing gay unions is not being financed primarily by liberal donors and Democrats. The support is likely to jolt the traditional financial and political backers of gay rights causes, who now find themselves in the unfamiliar position of being outraised and outspent in New York.

The donations are financing an intensive campaign of television advertisements and grass-roots activism coordinated by New Yorkers United for Marriage, a group of same-sex marriage advocates. The campaign is aimed chiefly at persuading several members of the Senate Republican majority to join most Senate Democrats in backing same-sex marriage, which was defeated in the Senate in 2009. The State Assembly, controlled by Democrats, has repeatedly passed same-sex marriage bills.

Daniel S. Loeb, one of dozen or so business leaders who signed a pro-marriage equality letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo last month, on why he supports marriage equality:

Some of those involved have made what might be termed the pro-business argument for same-sex marriage, arguing that the legalization of same-sex marriage would help keep New York economically competitive.

One of the donors, Daniel S. Loeb, who has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republican candidates for federal office in the last two years, said he hoped to make clear to Republicans that same-sex marriage had a broad coalition of support.

“I think it is important in particular for Republicans to know this is a bipartisan issue,” Mr. Loeb said. “If they’re Republican, they will not be abandoned by the party for supporting this. On the contrary, I think they will find that there is a whole new world of people who will support them on an ongoing basis if they support this cause.”

One of the other major donors is conservative hedge fund manager Paul Singer, who also signed the letter to Cuomo and whose gay son married his partner in Massachuesetts last year


  1. candide says

    I hope these high-power republicans can get some savvy people with street smarts to put together a hard-hitting ad campaign that actually conmbats head-on the lies and distortions of the anti-equality ads. Historically, ads for our side have been sentimental, weak, and obviously ineffective.

  2. Paul R says

    This support is obviously good news and welcomed—after all, Republicans have lots of money and are better are gaming the political machine—but it’s also a bit sad that traditional sources fundraising are being outspent, simply because it makes them look less effective.

    But hey, I won’t look a gift horse in the mouth. As Candide says, this support could lead to better ads, and will hopefully make lots of moderate Republicans willing to support equality. NY should not be a state where we continue to lose on this.

  3. Larry says

    Republicans are incredibly wealthy and i know for a fact however much they donated for marriage equality they’ve donated six times as much to an Anti-gay canidate so in the end we still fail.

  4. K says

    When does the legislative session end? This isn’t too little, but it may be too late.

  5. William says

    This is an extremely important development, along with the letter signed last week from the heads of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, and other major financial institutions. I don’t like the fact that the US is a corrupt plutocracy, but we are. And when the owners of the country come out in favor of SSM, that is a big deal.

    The one question left unaddressed by the Times piece is whether these donors are brandishing the stick as well as the carrot. If the GOP can’t deliver 3 senators out of 32, will Singer, Loeb, and the others send money to FightBack NY or donate directly to GOP primary challengers?

    Hopefully, that threat is being raised privately. Singer, in particular, has put his money where his heart is. He was the largest individual donor to the No on 1 campaign in Maine and has given big donations to AFER, the group challenging Prop 8. The NY GOP would have real reason to fear pissing him off.

    TV ads don’t matter so much this time around. This isn’t a referendum fight. It will all come down to convincing 3 turncoat Dems (including 2 who are under criminal investigation and one of whom is gay) and 3 GOP senators that it is in their best interest to vote yes.

  6. Rowan says

    Hmmm….dirty money…

    “Paul Singer is an up-and-coming GOP funder. He gave $5K to the Swift Boaters in 2004 and $500,000 to Rudy Giuliani’s failed Presidential campaign. He runs Elliott Asset Management, a New York hedge fund known by some as a “vulture fund,” so-named because it buys debt cheaply from cash-starved countries, and then sues them for the full repayment, pocketing scarce funds that would otherwise be invested in education, clean water, medicine and debt relief.

    Singer is generally known as the original ‘vulture’ of the for-profit so-called ‘vulture funds’, which buy government bonds from poor countries and demand an exorbitant return on their loans.

    In 1996, Singer bought up some of the debt of Peru for $11 million and got back $58 million. He purchased a bond from the Democratic Republic of Congo for about $10 million, sued in court for $400 million and ended up with $127 million… His estimated personal net worth is $700 million.

    Greg Palast explains how a vulture operation works. The vulture fund buys up the debt of poor nations cheaply when it is about to be written off and then sue for the full value of the debt plus interest — sometimes more than ten times what they paid for it. Singer, for example, paid just $10 million for Congo Brazzaville’s debt and is now suing for over $400 million.

    Singer knew he’d turn a 1000%-plus profit on his $10 million investment with George Bush’s help.

    Bush convinced the US Congress to forgive the money Congo owes the US taxpayer, but once the US taxpayer forgives Congo’s debt, the vulture, Singer, swoops in with lawyers to claim, “Congo now has the money to pay ME.””

  7. Bill Perdue says

    Don’t get too excited about this.

    In contrast to voters, the vast majority of active politicians in both parties are non-ideological political prostitutes. They’re not swayed by principles but by the need to get elected and fight for a place at the trough with the other pigs and grab a share of the power and money that comes with election. They’re oblivious to the heartfelt concerns of the people who voted for them and will betray us for far less than 30 pieces of silver.

    They wouldn’t recognize a principle if it sat on their face and started squirming.

    The exceptions to that rule, like Sanders of Vermont, are few and far between. Others, like Obama, shift with the shifting sands of politics – on Monday he’s a bigot, on Tuesday he not and on Wednesday…?

    In another confirmation of the basic similarities of the two parties, in New York. California and other states elements of both parties are for SSM, although mostly for opportunistic reasons. However, as always the outcome rests on the calculation of bigots and hustlers, who vastly outnumber the occasional liberal or socialist, and whose loyalties are first, last and always for sale.

  8. dave02657 says

    “Even a stopped clock …”

    As many of the posts thus far have demonstrated, and many future posts will do the same, these people are not our friends. They may well support this one “issue” since it is to their obvious economic benefit, but on virtually every other matter endemic to the progressive, the liberal, the rational, the compassionate – they will adamantly support the completely wrong side. End of story.

  9. anon says

    This might be to compete with the DC marriage law and prevent more firm from moving there. NY is losing out to DC in many areas as far as business interests are concerned. If MD went pro-marriage then all hell would break loose.

  10. MadM@ says

    I hope this represents a beginning of a major schism in the republican party between libertarians and the “religious right”- hopefully with the 524309520 people looking to run as the republican candidate we can see a split of votes to someone like Ron Paul with a repeat of what Perot did…and avoid President Palin

  11. John B. says

    Recent polls show that Maryland (like NY) is already pro-marriage; it’s just a matter of helping a majority of the state legislators find both their hearts and their spines.

    Meanwhile NOM is lying through their teeth saying “a majority of New Yorkers oppose same-sex marriage” when in fact the poll they’re citing says exactly the opposite (they conveniently ignored another poll that showed even higher support). Why isn’t this a bigger story? Maybe the fact that NOM is lying isn’t news but in this case they are being particularly shameless about it.

  12. Jason (the commenter) says

    Silly to be shocked by this happening. When I lived in Plattsburgh years ago (a city in upstate New York) the mayor was openly gay, Republican, and very popular.

    Republicans in New York are of the fiscally conservative/socially liberal type.

  13. Mark says

    These republicans donating to the marriage equality campaign are people in the mold of George, Jeb, and Laura Bush. They are republicans on economic issues, but they are not staunch ideologues on social issues (certainly not when they weigh them against their own political self-interest). This might help us occasionally on a particular goal, such as marriage equality in NY, but there is a problem with these people: they have very little political juice in the republican party. In this party, the real extreme nuts (aka teabaggers) are in charge. Don’t mistake these donors for the mainstream republican party. Mainstream republican would be someone in the mold of senator Jeff Sessions (Alabama) or former Senator Rick Santorum (Pennsylvania). Google them both cause I have no time to describe them.

    P.S: Someone posting at another article put it well: There is no way a republican controlled senate is going to enact gay marriage in ANY state (yes, that includes New York).

    In fact I remember another article right before the last vote two years ago saying exactly the same thing: that anti-equality forces were being outspent and outmaneuvered in NY. We all know how effective THAT turned out to be.

  14. Danny says

    Not really all that surprising: NYC is a mecca for gay people of all types. Wealthy, gay republicans are perhaps as likely to be attracted to a city in which they can comfortably be themselves as any other gay people.

  15. BobN says

    Big deal. A tiny carrot vs. giant timbers.

    Call me when they yank future funding from the very same politicians who will vote against their paltry $1M donation.

  16. David says

    Mark said:

    “In fact I remember another article right before the last vote two years ago saying exactly the same thing: that anti-equality forces were being outspent and outmaneuvered in NY. We all know how effective THAT turned out to be.”

    Really? I remember no such article. Let’s get a link.

    On the contrary, the last time around we were played like suckers – first by the Democrats who cut a deal with Diaz and his so-called “Three Amigos” and kept putting off any action on SSM. Then we were caught up in the coup d’etat. Finally, Paterson tried to use SSM to boost his poll numbers while doing nothing to help get it passed. Ultimately, we were betrayed by 8 – count them 8 – Dems, even while the naive fool Tom Duane was publicly declaring how he had secret promises of affirmative votes.

  17. Mark says


    You should not make the ridiculous claim to have read and remembered every news article out there. I do indeed remember an article from 2009 saying anti-gay forces were being outspent “this time” in NY and I remember getting really excited and optimistic. Believe me, if I remembered that link from two years ago I would post it here.

    Point is there’s way too many of these optimistic articles that are nothing more than personal opinion. You have to dig through the trash of (mostly useless) speculation to get the hard facts: such as right now they’re six votes short of the minimum necessary for passage in the Senate. Three of those votes would need to be republican. Good luck with that!

    But then if you stripped the “news” articles of all speculation, personal opinion, and just gave people the hard facts, that would only take 5 minutes at the most. So what else would the masses waste the rest of their free time with?