Roman Catholic Church Gave $2 Million To Stop Marriage Equality


With the dust settling from this month’s national elections, Human Rights Campaign has had an opportunity to look over donations to anti-gay marriage initiatives and found that the Roman Catholic Church gave $2 million to the conservative efforts in Minnesota, Maryland, Maine and Washington State.

From HRC:

Taking up where the Mormons left off in 2008, the Catholic Church – and its affiliate, the Knights of Columbus – have made considerable investments in the marriage fights in Minnesota, Maryland, Washington State and Maine this election cycle – spending nearly $2 million. In addition, a close ally of the Church and past co-conspirator, the National Organization for Marriage, spent more than $5.2 million this cycle. Final campaign figures for Maryland and Maine will be available by the end of the month.

Marriage equality opponents across the four states raised $11.3 million. The Catholic Church’s contributions make up 17 percent of that total figure. When you add in the contributions of Church ally NOM, the reality of the coordinated effort becomes clear: the Catholic Church, the Knights of Columbus and NOM are responsible for funding nearly 65 percent of all anti-equality efforts in Minnesota, Maryland, Washington State and Maine.

All this despite poll numbers showing that almost 60% of American Catholics support marriage equality and with poverty, something the Catholic Church claims to oppose, steadily climbing, particularly among Latinos, a largely Catholic demographic. #priorities.


  1. says


    the number of people who actually need AID right now and they spent millions to stop gay NON-CATHOLICS from marrying.

    i wonder how many poor families could have had life-saving medical procedures with this money….

  2. HadenoughBS says

    With the woes of the US being what they are today, wouldn’t a couple of million dollars be better spent assisting thousands of citizens in dire need instead of wasting money being homophobic bigots? But, then, no one said the Papists were rational or even caring Christians these days.

  3. simon says

    Vatican is a foreign country. The US should call in their representative here to protest their interference in the domestic affair in this conntry. It is hard to imagine other countries like China or Russia do the same thing and channel their money into local politics.

  4. AJ says

    The Catholic church I drive past every day here in Mpls had SIX Vote Yes signs out front for months. I always looked at those signs which require at least a $10 donation and thought of the different ways that $60 could have helped those in need.

    I was always heartened by the house a few down from that place with a sign that said “Another Catholic Voting No”.

    I know all of this sucks, but don’t throw the Catholics out with the bathwater. I know several Catholics who are fed up with the church over this and are fighting them every step of the way; a few of them from within. Someone I work with is considering changing churches because they are forced to pray at every Mass that DOMA is not over-turned. The audacity is just stunning. And the hypocrisy.

  5. Jack M says

    LOTS of Catholics are pro-equality, lots of nuns and priests too. Trying to change the Church from within is the most subversive thing anybody can do, and it is slowly being done.

  6. Doug P says

    Enough is enough! The Catholic Church (and the Mormon Church) should have their tax-free status revoked. They are constantly involved in politics where they do not belong.

  7. e.c. says

    Wasn’t the Catholic Church one of NOMs largest donors? So in reality they are responsible for an even bigger portion of the anti-equality funding.

  8. says

    what if every Equality-minded Catholic churchgoer stayed home on sunday, and made it known why?

    organize a national movement. show ’em just who they’ll lose, and how much revenue they’re lose, if they keep the anti-______ stances up.

    organized religions is like Big Business. know when they’ll change their tune? when it becomes financially prudent to do so. and not a day before.

  9. Icebloo says

    The writers of this report have not done their homework. Reading this you assume the Catholic Church has spent the most but the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is almost entirely funded by the Mormons.
    NOM was CREATED by the Mormons so people wouldn’t realize the Mormon church was getting involved in politics and that would mean they could continue to not pay any taxes.

    NOM spent $5.2 million. The Mormons are STILL our biggest enemy closely followed by the Catholics.

    Don’t be fooled. It has been proved that the Mormon church has been our biggest enemy going right back to the first gay marriage votes in 1993. They have been heavily involved in EVERY state battle for gay marriage ever since and have been the biggest financial contributor.

    Now if a religion can afford to buy private jets, fund private hospitals and put in millions of dollars to fight political campaigns then why is this religion not made to pay ANY taxes ? How can they claim to be poor ?

    America needs to wake up and stop being so terrified of these religions. We need new laws to make them pay their share of taxes.

  10. 99% says

    How do they maintain a tax-free status? It’s one thing to preach hatred from the pulpit, but when you give money to influence the state and politics, you cross the line.

    Time to pay.

  11. 99% says

    Follow on question to this thread; do religious organizations enjoy tax-free status around the world or do they pay taxes elsewhere but not here?

  12. Rich L says

    Concerding the considerable financial resources of the Catholic Church;
    $2 million – looks like their heart really wasn’t in it. They just want to look like their doing something to stop marriage equality.

  13. STRATHY says

    I agree with Doug P. There’s no reason we should be subsidizing churches that keep overstepping their bounds and getting involved in politics — and that goes for the Knights of Columbus, too!

  14. Mary says

    I have a question. How long do you think it would take middle-of-the-road voters to turn virulently anti-gay if churches started to be taxed? I understand the feelings of Towleroad posters on this topic. But realize that you’d be walking off a cliff with an anti-tax exemption movement. Your best bet is to aim for a peaceful cp-existence with churches. Kiwi has the right idea about trying to change churches from within. Even the religiously apathetic have warm memories of church life from their childhood and often see religion as a bulwark against moral and cultural decay. Gays are winning the marriage equality fight. No need to rub salt in the wound of the faithful. Your goal should be to convince them that whatever their religious views, legally wed gay couples is a reality they can learn to live with.

    In other words, no matter how fat and lazy and apathetic a slumbering bear may seem, realize that – hey, it’s still a bear and not a little kitten.

  15. Sean says

    There will be no peaceful co-existence with churches as long as they spend money to interfere with the secular political process to deprive me of my civil rights. They can preach inside their churches to their flocks as much as they want — I don’t care. But when they spend church money to impose their religious views on me, then I will fight them.

  16. Caliban says

    So far as I’m concerned, the ONLY thing you need to know is they cracked down on the nuns for spending too much time on charity (you know, that thing Jesus tended to go on and on about?) and not enough on the RCC’s political goals.

    Between that and the various threats right before the election about the fate of your immortal soul if RCs voted for Obama, it’s clear their priorities are WAY out of whack.

    And Mary, though obviously the RCC’s anti-gay activities motivate a lot of the “tax the Churches” rhetoric here, on a gay blog, the reason churches aren’t taxed is because they’re supposed to be separate from the state. But if they’re going to act as POLITICAL entities then they can by-god (literally) pay taxes like everyone else.

  17. andrew says

    How relevant are the Catholic Bishops? After all their anti-Obama rantings and big money spent, more Catholics voted for Obama than Romney. The “poor” bishops will have to go back to their mansions and lick their wounds.

  18. andrew says

    How relevant are the Catholic Bishops? After all their anti-Obama rantings and big money spent, more Catholics voted for Obama than Romney. The “poor” bishops will have to go back to their mansions and lick their wounds.

  19. andrew says

    How relevant are the Catholic Bishops? After all their anti-Obama rantings and big money spent, more Catholics voted for Obama than Romney. The “poor” bishops will have to go back to their mansions and lick their wounds.

  20. Mary says

    Caliban, I understand your position. I’m not even saying you’re wrong. But I’m asking: do you think there is a political constituencey for denying tax exemption to churches because they take political stands? Do you imagine that the recent victories for marriage equality (in a handful of states, none of which are swing states) mean that Americans are neutral about religion? In a direct conflict between the gay community and religion, most Americans will side with religion. Nothing would give NOM more members quicker than seeing churches boarded shut because they couldn’t pay their taxes. The headlines on NOM’s pamphlets should be easy to predict: “It started with two men marrying each other – it endeded with your church being boarded shut.” If Brian Brown is reading Towleroad he must be thinking “Go ahead, fools. Make my day!”

  21. Rob says

    Four disconnected thoughts:
    1- We have people who judge these questions- they are called judges. This should be handled in the judiciary.

    2- HRC is correct to identify its enemies, and I am proud to be a Federal Club Member. HRC shoveled millions into these fights and continues to do so.

    3- There is a ruby-encrusted letter opener in the Vatican sent from the people of Bangladesh.

    4= Religion depends on music, lights, drama – it’s time that it officially came out as gay.

  22. DC Arnold says

    What? That church managed to find 2 mil to fight marriage equality instead of give it to the victims of pedophile priests? What do you expect from those that collaborated with the Nazis.