GOP donors lobbying Republicans to support gay marriage

FILE - In this April 18, 2013, file photo Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton tell hundreds who turned out to rally at the State Capitol, in St. Paul, Minn. in support of a bill to legalize gay marriage that he hoped legislators will pass this year. A spokesman for American Unity PAC tells The Associated Press that the group has established a lobbying operation and already spent more than $250,000 to lobby Republican lawmakers in Minnesota, with plans to spend more. (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)

FILE - In this April 18, 2013, file photo Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton tell hundreds who turned out to rally at the State Capitol, in St. Paul, Minn. in support of a bill to legalize gay marriage that he hoped legislators will pass this year. A spokesman for American Unity PAC tells The Associated Press that the group has established a lobbying operation and already spent more than $250,000 to lobby Republican lawmakers in Minnesota, with plans to spend more. (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)

Demonstrators stand outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Tuesday, March 26, 2013, where the court will hear arguments on California’s voter approved ban on same-sex marriage, Proposition 8. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Demonstrators stand outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Tuesday, March 26, 2013, where the court will hear arguments on California’s voter approved ban on same-sex marriage, Proposition 8. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A national group of prominent GOP donors that supports gay marriage is pouring new money into lobbying efforts to get Republican lawmakers to vote to make it legal.

American Unity PAC was formed last year to lend financial support to Republicans who bucked the party's longstanding opposition to gay marriage. Its founders are launching a new lobbying organization, American Unity Fund, and already have spent more than $250,000 in Minnesota, where the Legislature could vote on the issue as early as next week.

The group has spent $500,000 on lobbying since last month, including efforts in Rhode Island, Delaware, Indiana, West Virginia and Utah.

Billionaire hedge fund manager and Republican donor Paul Singer launched American Unity PAC. The lobbying effort is the next phase as the push for gay marriage spreads to more states, spokesman Jeff Cook-McCormac told The Associated Press.

"What you have is this network of influential Republicans who really want to see the party embrace the freedom to marry, and believe it's not only the right thing for the country but also good politics," Cook-McCormac said.

In Minnesota, the money has gone to state groups that are lobbying Republican lawmakers and for polling on gay marriage in a handful of suburban districts held by Republicans. So far, only one Minnesota Republican lawmaker has committed to voting to legalize gay marriage: Sen. Branden Petersen, of Andover.

"I think there will be some more. There are legislators out there that are struggling with this," said Carl Kuhl, a former political aide to former GOP Sen. Norm Coleman and Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer. Kuhl's public affairs firm is contracted by Minnesotans United, the lead lobby group for gay marriage in Minnesota and main recipient of American Unity's Minnesota spending.

Gay marriage's fate in Minnesota may rest with the House, where support is seen as shakier than in the Senate. A handful of votes from Republicans could put it over the top. Nearly two dozen House Republicans represent more socially moderate suburbs and might be candidates to vote yes.

House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, said he has encouraged advocates of the marriage bill to round up Republican votes, if nothing else than to send a message to Minnesota residents that it's not a partisan proposition. But that will be politically risky; the main opposition group to same-sex marriage, Minnesota for Marriage, has said it will seek consequences for Republicans who stray on gay marriage.

Part of American Unity PAC's original mission was to spend money on behalf of Republican gay marriage supporters. Many GOP lawmakers have faced primary challenges funded in part by anti-gay marriage groups such as the National Organization for Marriage, which argue that the lawmakers had betrayed the party's core principles.

Since forming the lobby group last month, American Unity also spent money to win over Republican lawmakers in Rhode Island, where last week all five Republicans in the state Senate jumped on the gay marriage bandwagon. Rhode Island is on track to legalize gay marriage by next week, which would make it the 11th U.S. state where gay marriage is legal.

There are also plans to lobby federal lawmakers on gay rights issues.

"We intend to work on this effort until every American citizen is treated equally under the law," Cook-McCormac said. Other wealthy, traditionally Republican donors giving money to the group include Seth Klarman, David Herro and Cliff Asness.

Though only one current GOP officeholder in Minnesota is on record supporting gay marriage, a handful of prominent Republicans have spoken out in favor of it. They include former state auditor Pat Anderson and Brian McClung, who was spokesman for former Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Prominent Republican donors including former politician Wheelock Whitney and businesswoman Marilyn Carlson Nelson have also lent support and donated money.

Since it first formed to campaign against last fall's gay marriage ban and then shifted to pushing for its legalization at the Capitol, Minnesotans United has been building Republican alliances, hiring multiple lobbyists with Republican ties.

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Comments » 10

26yearsonmarco writes:

Any person, especially a Politian, who, for personal or political gain, abandons, or changes their personal beliefs, should be ashamed of themselves.

August8 writes:

in response to GorchFock:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

How Insulting !!!!!

WMissow writes:

Gay marriage is one thing and should be up to the individuals to decide if they wish to make the commitment to each other in a legal sense,
but to do away with marriage as we have known it is going too far.....and they just keep on going and going!

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/...

1Paradiselost writes:

The Blaze, formerly GBTV, is a conservative libertarian news, information, and entertainment television network founded by talk radio personality Glenn Beck. The majority of its programming is broadcasted from its headquarters in Dallas, Texas at the historic Studios at Las Colinas. The entity is affiliated with the The Blaze news website.

How am I not surprised that the BLASE is an "entertainment television network"

"It's Entertainment" folks NOT NEWS!

Maybe all "Low Information Voters" should get their news from "The Mary Tyler Moore show", Now that's a real news show!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TheBlaze

WMissow writes:

Has nothing at all to do with what was actually said by the woman.

Keep on believing what you wish to believe and posting irrelevant retorts.

1Paradiselost writes:

Are you telling us that Glenn Beck reports real news?

WMissow writes:

Maybe if you looked further down the video and listened to the actual words of the women who was quoted you would.............who cares, you are too far lost for any of us to worry about.

1Paradiselost writes:

Who's the woman? Is she a shill? Please remember Glenn Beck is entertainment.....

What does one woman's opinion have to with 51% of the population of the Americas women? The end of marriage as we know it, get real!

Are you basing your beliefs one one woman's opinion? Or are they feeding you what what you WANT to Hear/believe?

WMissow writes:

TFL Do your own research, please!

August8 writes:

in response to WMissow:

TFL Do your own research, please!

I don't think he can read.

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