Main | Monday, July 28, 2008

WordPerfect Founder Bruce Bastian Pledges $1M To Fight Prop 8

Utah resident and WordPerfect cofounder Bruce Bastian has pledged $1M to fight California's Proposition 8 as out-of-state money continues to roll in on both sides of the issue.
When Bruce Bastian of Utah stood up Saturday night at a San Francisco dinner and wrote a $1 million check for the campaign against Proposition 8, he made it clearer than ever that November's ballot fight over a ban on same-sex marriage won't be a California-only affair.

Supporters of the effort to ban same-sex marriage already have taken in more than $1.2 million from out-of-state contributors for the fall campaign. And even before Bastian, a co-founder of the WordPerfect software company, opened his checkbook, gay and lesbian rights groups and their supporters from around the country had put more than $1.3 million into the fight against the ballot initiative.

"This is a campaign that's important to the entire country, not just California," said Brad Luna, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, sponsor of the fundraising dinner that brought more than 750 people to the St. Francis Hotel on Saturday. "The result will have effects across the United States."

Those national concerns are echoed from the backers of the same-sex marriage ban.

When the state Supreme Court overturned Proposition 22's ban on same-sex unions, it opened the way for "nationwide legal chaos" and allowed gay rights groups "to force their radical redefinition of marriage upon the nation," according to a statement from the California Family Council, one of the supporters of Prop. 8.

The outside money is arriving in supersized chunks. Focus on the Family, a Colorado Springs group headed by James Dobson, has given more than $400,000 to the Prop. 8 campaign. The American Family Association, out of Tupelo, Miss., has contributed $500,000. The Knights of Columbus, a national Catholic men's organization headquartered in New Haven, Conn., has put $250,000 into the campaign.

The opponents also have cast a national net for donors. The Human Rights Campaign, which works for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights out of its Washington headquarters, has raised more than $570,000 for the fight against Prop. 8. Another Washington group, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, has given $200,000. David Maltz, a Cleveland businessman, has donated $500,000 to the anti-Prop. 8 effort.
Bastian: "One thing I learned as a Mormon was that preaching costs money. The Mormons will raise a lot of money to support Proposition 8 in November. You can't change people's minds. They have to change them for themselves. If people are shown the truth and have fear taken out of the equation, I believe they will stand up for what's good and fair."

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