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.”