Surprise in NY: Wealthy GOP donors giving bulk of marriage equality support

Surprise in NY: Wealthy GOP donors giving bulk of marriage equality support

From the NY Times: The campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in New York has been getting a cash infusion from some unexpected sources — conservative donors who traditionally support Republicans candidates and causes.

Their behind-the-scenes financial support — about $1 million in donations, delivered in recent weeks to a new coalition of gay rights organizations — could alter the political calculus of Albany lawmakers, especially the Republican state senators in whose hands the fate of gay marriage rests.

The donors represent some of New York’s wealthiest and most politically active figures.

The new donations represent roughly two-thirds of the same-sex marriage coalition’s fund-raising, making New York the rare state where a lobbying campaign in favor of legalizing gay unions is not being financed primarily by liberal donors and Democrats.

The donations are financing an intensive campaign of television advertisements and grass-roots activism coordinated by New Yorkers United for Marriage, a group of same-sex marriage advocates. The campaign is aimed chiefly at persuading several members of the Senate Republican majority to join most Senate Democrats in backing same-sex marriage, which was defeated in the Senate in 2009.

The newly recruited donors argue that permitting same-sex marriage is consistent with conservative principles of personal liberty and small government.

Some of those involved have made what might be termed the pro-business argument for same-sex marriage, arguing that the legalization of same-sex marriage would help keep New York economically competitive.