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Big money pours into North Carolina over marriage amendment

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Millions of dollars have been amassed by groups for and against North Carolina's proposed constitutional amendment to ban civil unions and marriage equality.

Christian Action League has raised $312,000 and the anti-gay hate group National Organization for Marriage has donated $303,000 to top the list of supporters of passing the amendment. Other major donors include tax software executive Phil Drake ($250,000), Roman Catholic dioceses ($100,000) and North Carolina Values Coalition ($66,000). A total of 26% of the $1.2 million raised came from individuals.

Human Rights Campaign locally and nationally raised $251,000 to lead the way for opponents of the amendment. Other top donors included Michigan billionaire Jon Stryker ($200,000), Replacements Ltd. ($130,000), Blueprint NC ($105,000), and Raleigh philanthropist Todd Stiefel ($100,000). A total of 70% of the $2 million raised came from individuals.

All figures were originally reported by newsobserver.com, which poured through financial records released to the public. The website reported:

The constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and civil unions is making North Carolina a national battleground, the extent to which is now coming into focus with campaign finance reports showing the referendum buoyed by big out-of-state donors and interest groups.

The National Organization for Marriage contributed more than $300,000 to the group pushing the May 8 ballot initiative, according to reports filed this week, and the Human Rights Campaign countered with $250,000 from its national and state affiliates to defeat it. And the campaigns for and against the amendment are pulling heavily from the 2008 contest in California on Proposition 8 with top consultants, donors and organizations from each side of that fight helping to define the issue in North Carolina.

The two referendum committees raised a combined $3.2 million, likely making it the most expensive campaign in the state this primary season, more than doubling the cost of the Democratic governor’s race and many heated congressional primaries.

“The fight going on in North Carolina right now is critical to the larger LGBT community,” said Michael Cole-Schwartz with the D.C.-based Human Rights Campaign. “It’s important to note that North Carolina is the only state in the South not to have passed an amendment.”

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