Day: September 1, 2012
Billionaire hedge fund manager Paul E. Singer is one of the Republican Party’s most important money men, raising millions for presidential candidate Mitt Romney and giving even more to a super PAC supporting his campaign.
But Singer is also a longtime backer of marriage rights for gay men and lesbians, putting him in stark conflict with Romney and the Republican establishment
The contrast underscores a growing rift between the main Republican Party — which reiterated its support this week for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage — and a small group of conservative donors who view the issue as a matter of individual civil liberties.
Singer has given $1 million this year to Freedom to Marry, a national bipartisan advocacy group focused on winning state ballot measures on gay marriage in Maine, Minnesota and Washington. The group plans to spend at least $3 million on its efforts.
Singer, founder of the $20 billion Elliott Management fund, also gave $1 million in start-up money to American Unity PAC, a new super PAC focused on supporting Republican congressional candidates who favor marriage equality.
The two groups have received major donations from at least three other Republican hedge fund managers: Cliff Asness of AQR Capital Management, Seth Klarman of Baupost Group and Dan Loeb of Third Point, according to records and officials. Singer and Asness were among the key backers of a successful push last year for same-sex marriage legislation in New York.
Marc Solomon, national campaign director for Freedom to Marry, said the donations from prominent Republicans represent a key development in the marriage debate.
“The strong support that we’re getting from members of both parties indicates that this has become a mainstream American cause,” Solomon said. “This is not the same wedge issue that it was eight years ago.”
Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of gay GOP group GOProud, has said his group backs Mitt Romney because gay people need jobs before they can marry.
GOProud was the first gay conservative group to endorse Romney for president. The GOP candidate opposes recognizing gay and lesbian couples with either civil unions or marriage.
The group’s Homocon party at the Republican National Convention took place on the same day Republicans ratified a platform which supports a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as a heterosexual union.
During a CNN appearance, Piers Morgan asked, “How can you really support a ticket which is so resolutely opposed not just to gay marriage but to most gay rights?”
“Right. I know, but look, here’s the deal,” LaSalvia explained. “The answer is you gotta have a date before you get married. Everyone knows you can’t get a date without a job. … Gay Americans are living in the Obama economy and that’s the reality that all voters are facing when they go into the voting booth.”
SPOKANE, Wash. — Churches in Washington state are being reminded that collecting money for a political cause is not OK — including a high-stakes ballot battle over gay marriage.
The state’s Public Disclosure Commission recently learned that Roman Catholic Bishop Joseph Tyson of Yakima sent a letter to pastors in 41 parishes asking them to take up a special collection for Preserve Marriage Washington, the group that is trying to overturn the state’s same-sex marriage law.
Marriage equality supporters found a new ally in an unlikely place earlier this week.
The American billionaire and political activist David Koch, who, with his brother Charles, has funneled millions of dollars into conservative organizations bent on electing Republicans, told Politico that he supports marriage equality.
When asked if he agreed with the Republican Party’s stance on gay rights, Koch responded, “I believe in gay marriage.”
Although Mitt Romney and much of the Republican Party support a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and the Defense of Marriage Act, which forbids federal recognition of same-sex marriages, Koch thinks otherwise, telling Politico, “Well, I disagree with that.”