Gay Marriage Supporters in Wash. Outraise Opponents
OLYMPIA, Wash. - In the final days heading into the election, gay marriage supporters continue to hold a strong financial advantage over the group looking to overturn Washington state's law allowing same-sex marriage.
According to filings posted late Tuesday with the Public Disclosure Commission, Washington United for marriage raised $1.3 million over the past two weeks, bringing the total amount it's raised during the campaign to $11.9 million. Preserve Marriage Washington, which opposes the gay marriage law, raised more than $481,000 during that same time period and has raised a total of $2.6 million, far short of the $4 million that officials with the campaign said they initially expected to raise.
"We never expected to match the other side dollar for dollar," said Chip White, a spokesman for Preserve Marriage. "We just needed to raise enough money to get our message out."
Referendum 74 asks voters to either approve or reject the law passed earlier this year that allows same-sex marriage in the state. That law is on hold pending next Tuesday's vote.
White pointed to a recent poll by independent pollster Stuart Elway that showed support for R-74 dropping from last month. An Elway poll in September found the measure holding a 51-37 lead for approval among registered voters, with 12 percent undecided. But in a follow-up poll last week, support for the measure dropped to a 49-45 lead with six percent undecided.
"Momentum is moving in our direction," White said.
Washington United spokesman Zach Silk said that they always knew it would be a close race.
"We were never under the impression that we were going to create a blowout win," he said. Opponents to gay marriage are asking voters "to stick with the status quo, and we're asking people to do something progressive and new, and that's always hard," he said.
Preserve Marriage has a negative balance of more than $176,000, something White said is because it's paid for all of its media, including TV ads that started running earlier this month.
"We are continuing to fundraise and continuing to let our supporters know what the needs are," he said.
Washington is one of four states where voters are being asked about gay marriage. As in Washington state, voters in Maryland and Maine will decide whether or not to legalize same-sex marriage. In Minnesota, voters will determine whether to place a ban on gay marriage in the state constitution, as 30 other states have done previously.
Six states - New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont - and the District of Columbia have enacted laws or issued court rulings that permit same-sex marriage.