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  • 1. VIRick  |  August 24, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    National Organization for Marriage Reveals Donors from 2009 Campaign

    The National Organization for Marriage has filed its campaign finance report from its 2009 bid to overturn Maine’s marriage equality law, revealing its donors to the ballot initiative for the first time. The report, released Monday, 24 August 2015, marks the culmination of a four-year-long battle between the country’s leading opponent of gay marriage and the Maine Ethics Commission. The report shows that seven major donors gave NOM more than $2 million in 2009. The organization then funneled that money to Stand for Marriage Maine, the Maine-based political action committee that became the public face of the successful bid to overturn Maine’s marriage equality law.

    The list of donors includes one person from Maine: Richard Kurtz of Cape Elizabeth. Kurtz, who along with his wife Virginia, has donated to Gov. Paul LePage and the Maine Republican Party, donated $50,000 to NOM in 2009. Kurtz is also listed as giving $1,000 to the 2008 campaign to overturn California’s marriage equality law.

    The largest donor to NOM in 2009 was Sean Fieler, president of the hedge fund Equinox Partners and the Kuroto Fund. Fieler has reportedly spent more than $4.6 million on state and federal political campaigns and super PACs since 2010. He is also involved in a new effort to fund anti-transgender rights nationally. Fieler donated $1.25 million to NOM in 2009. Other donors include John Templeton of Pennsylvania ($300,000), Terrence Caster of California ($300,000), and the Knights of Columbus ($140,000).

    On 4 August 2015, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court refused the organization’s request for a stay that would have enabled it to delay complying with a state ethics board ruling that it must file a report identifying the sources of the $2 million that NOM gave to the referendum drive. Last year, the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices imposed a $50,250 fine on NOM because it failed to register as a ballot question committee or file campaign activity and donor disclosure reports. In April, a Maine Superior Court ruling upheld the ethics commission decision to fine NOM and require the group to list its donors.

    Jonathan Wayne, director of the ethics commission, indicated that NOM has paid its fine – a record amount – and filed as a ballot question committee, under protest. In its ruling, the court wrote that NOM’s efforts to block donor disclosure had not been successful in either state or federal courts. NOM gave more than $2 million to the $3 million referendum campaign to overturn the marriage equality law that the Legislature passed and Gov. John Baldacci signed. The law never took effect.

    Brian Brown, NOM’s executive director, was an operating officer of Stand for Marriage Maine, a Maine-based ballot question committee that registered with the state. The ethics commission members argued that Brown’s dual role allowed the organization to shield its donors and skirt Maine’s donor disclosure law. The ethics investigation cited bank statements and campaign literature to show that the organization used its nonprofit status to draw donations earmarked for the Maine referendum – a violation of Maine election law.

  • 2. Randolph_Finder  |  August 24, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    Already added the donors to Wikipedia article on the ballot initiative. I think it may stay given how *few* there were and the fact that this has been the remaining story on the Campaign for 10 times longer than the Campaign was.

    Basically, you've got three people and an organization who would have no problem with their names being public because they are known to have done this sort of thing: Fieler, Caster and Templeton(Deceased) and Knights of Columbus. It is Kurtz and Benjamin Brown on the other hand, who aren't used to being in the middle of this type of thing. Brown is the one who I *almost* feel sorry for, as if he had cut his donation in half, his name wouldn't have gotten out (the etc. category is for $100 or less)

    Full scan of documents turned over is at

  • 3. F_Young  |  August 24, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    VIRick, do you still expect to lose electricity, or has Danny petered out to the point that electricity won't be shut down pre-emptively?

  • 4. VIRick  |  August 24, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    Earlier today, Danny appears to have petered out just before reaching Guadeloupe, and is now to the point where it shouldn't cause any damage. Right now, at 6:30 PM on Monday, it's breezy, and the clouds are building. However, it is supposed to be rainy here from later tonight, and continuing on for the next 4 days, with the Thursday-Friday rain being generated by Tropical Storm Erika. The whistling tree-frogs (called coquis in Spanish) are singing their little hearts out, in eager anticipation. Still, no one seems to be the least bit concerned about Danny, as we're all beginning to watch the development of the next one which has formed behind it (Erika).

  • 5. F_Young  |  August 24, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    VIRick: "National Organization for Marriage Reveals Donors from 2009 Campaign"


    I'm surprised to see that the Catholic Church was not the main funder.

    If I recall correctly, the anti-gays loudly complained that same-sex marriage was being imposed on Maine by out-of-staters. So, it's worth noting that it looks like the majority of the anti-gay campaign was funded by out-of staters (Fieler lives in New Jersey).

  • 6. Mike_Baltimore  |  August 24, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    The Knights of Columbus (KoC) is named as among the largest doners.

    1. The KoC is an organization that gets 'spending money' from its membership;

    2.The KoC is a very conservative Latin Rite organization. I have never heard of a non-Latin Rite church member being admitted to the KoC, let alone lead it.

    I'm sure there are several 'out-of-staters' who gave lots of money through KoC. 'In-staters' also.

  • 7. JayJonson  |  August 25, 2015 at 6:07 am

    Fieler and Caster are also Catholic loons. Caster and family members were one of the biggest donors to Proposition 8. One of his sons was a broadway musical actor whose career was washed up because he also donated a very large sum to Prop 8, no doubt at the insistence of his father.

  • 8. Tony MinasTirith  |  August 24, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    This just goes to show Rick, that millions of unethical dollars can't stop the inevitable Moral Arc of History as it bends towards justice and equality for gays and lebesians. What did these pious bigots get for their investment other than delay and rallying a grass roots movement in support of Marriage Equality? NOTHING, nanda, zero, Zip. Just think Rick, what their millions could have been used for instead of preventing loving gay couples from marrying. The money could have gone to children's lunch and after school programs, homeless and domestic violence shelters, teacher pay, habitat for humanity, college grants, ending child hunger, medical research, improved body armor for our troops in the Middle East, a make over for Faux News' Megyn Kelly. But noooo, those millions accomplished nothing but adding 6" to Brian Brown's waistline, Rick.

  • 9. LK2013  |  August 24, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    Group Turns Over Donor List From Gay Marriage Fight in Maine
    PORTLAND, Maine — Aug 24, 2015, 5:31 PM ET
    By DAVID SHARP Associated Press
    Associated Press
    The president of a hedge fund contributed $1.25 million to the National Organization for Marriage's efforts to defeat Maine's gay marriage law in 2009, providing more than half of national anti-gay marriage group's donations during the campaign, according to a campaign disclosure report.

    The group went to court three different times to shield its list of donors who contributed more than $2 million combined, all of which was funneled to Stand for Marriage Maine, the political action committee that led the repeal effort. It submitted the detailed disclosure report, dated Friday, after the Maine supreme court rejected a move to further delay its release.

    The report showed the biggest single contributor was Sean Fieler, a New Jersey man who is president of hedge fund Equinox Partners and the Kuroto Fund. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.

    The other largest donors at $300,000 apiece were San Diego business leader Terry Caster, who didn't immediately return a message left at his business, and retired Pennsylvania physician Jack Templeton, who died of brain cancer in May. The Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal organization, donated $140,000. The largest Maine contributor to NOM was Richard Kurtz, a retiree from Cape Elizabeth. He declined to comment.

    "It's important when out-of-state groups come to Maine to fund an initiative or referendum that they know they have to register with the commission and disclose the sources of their political funding. That's what this whole matter was about," said Jonathan Wayne, executive director of the Maine Ethics Commission.

    The National Organization for Marriage never registered with the state or filed a campaign report, arguing that the money it raised wasn't specifically earmarked for the Maine referendum. It also contended that revealing the identities of donors would stymie free speech and make donors less likely to contribute in the future.

    Brian Brown, NOM's president, accused the state of unfairly targeting his group while letting others off the hook.

    "This is a blatant injustice. It goes against everything our political system should stand for. We were unfairly targeted because of our beliefs," he said Monday.

    NOM was the biggest contributor to the 2009 referendum that overturned a gay marriage law signed by then-Gov. John Baldacci.

    Maine voters returned to the ballot box to legalize same-sex marriage in 2012.

    The Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices ruled last year that NOM broke the law by not registering as a ballot question committee and not filing campaign finance reports despite playing a central role in the referendum. NOM already paid the $50,250 fine, the biggest penalty on record in Maine.

    NOM originally fought the ethics commission's subpoenas in state court, then brought a federal lawsuit fighting the state requirements on constitutional grounds. It brought another action after the commission's ruling last year.

    "These decisions are valuable precedent and will assist future efforts by state and local government to require financial disclosure in elections," Wayne said.


    This story has been corrected to show that the state supreme court ruling was earlier this month, not last week.

  • 10. jpmassar  |  August 24, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    So they were able to delay releasing names for six years until virtually no one cared any more.

  • 11. JayJonson  |  August 25, 2015 at 6:14 am

    Well, I care. I am now going to have to check with my stockbroker to see if I have any entanglements with Equinox Partners or the Kuroto Fund. Feiler is someone I don't want to do business with, however insignificant my holdings may be to him.

    In any case, he certainly did not want his donations to be made public, else why would NOM fight so hard to prevent their disclosure. The other major donors are either dead (Templeton) or like Caster already well known as funders of anti-marriage equality inititiatives.

  • 12. weaverbear  |  August 25, 2015 at 11:42 am

    You speak my mind Jay. I don't care to do business with any business people who would actively work against my civil rights (hence why it will be a cold day in [email protected] before I set foot in a Chick-fil-A franchise).

    Does anyone know if Dr Templeton was connected in anyway with Templeton investments? That group is supposed to be as conservative in their social views as the late Dr Templeton appears to have been.

  • 13. Sagesse  |  August 24, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    This article from the New Civil Rights Movement lays out the anti-gay, anti-marriage equality affiliations of the donors in more detail.

    UPDATED: NOM Hands Over Donor List From Maine Campaign Against Same-Sex Marriage – Details

    Pausing to wonder how NOM identified these donors, out of all its donors in 2009, who gave to the Maine referendum fight. All of them have very public positions and were known prior to this disclosure to support and fund anti-LGBT causes. Perhaps this group agreed to fall on their sword and be named in order the shield others (say, the Catholic Church and the LDS (Morman) Church, for instance)?

  • 14. Bruno71  |  August 25, 2015 at 11:37 am

    I suspect that Fieler may not be so inclined to donate so many millions of his own money outright. He could be part of a nefarious operation that collects monies from churches or other donors who wish to remain anonymous and funnels it through his bank account. We'll probably never know for sure.

  • 15. LK2013  |  August 24, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    Ha ha, we've been kicking a$$ and now we're taking names! Sorry to gloat, but these NOM cowards have been hiding for years and donating zillions of dollars in the name of hate. So satisfying that they have to be dragged into the light of day finally!

  • 16. weaverbear  |  August 25, 2015 at 11:47 am

    And we will see if the roaches scatter for cracks and crevices in the walls now that they are exposed to the light of day!

  • 17. Sagesse  |  August 24, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    Human Rights Groups Ask President Obama To End Taxpayer Funded Religious Discrimination [New Civil Rights Movement]

    "The ACLU, HRC, NAACP and more than 130 others groups have petitioned President Obama to rescind a Bush-era legal directive they say enables discrimination under the guise of "religious freedom."

  • 18. Sagesse  |  August 24, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    Coincidentally, here in Canada the law societies of several provinces are refusing to accredit graduates of a newly formed Christian university law school that essentially refuses to admit LGBT students.

    Trinity Western fights B.C. law society’s refusal to accredit law grads [Globe and Mail]

  • 19. VIRick  |  August 24, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    The USA and Chile Got the UN Security Council to Talk LGBT Rights

    The most powerful body at the United Nations on Monday, 24 August 2015, had its first ever conversation about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues. A group of speakers, including two gay Middle Eastern survivors of anti-LGBT persecution by the Islamic State militant group, as well as U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson and an advocate for global LGBT equality, addressed an informal gathering of top diplomats whose countries sit on the UN Security Council.

    The United States and Chile co-sponsored the event, which was unprecedented for the Security Council, a number of whose member states are notoriously intolerant of LGBT people. The event's organizers, mindful of the diplomatic sensitivities that accompany discussions of LGBT issues, classified the event as an Arria-formula meeting, a type of unofficial, confidential and non-mandatory gathering of Security Council members. Thirteen of the 15 current Security Council member states attended Monday's meeting, a U.N. diplomat in attendance told The Huffington Post. Angola and Chad were the only countries that skipped the event.

    Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the UN, launched the event by acknowledging its groundbreaking nature, and noted that unified condemnation matters. A gay man from Iraq, who addressed the Security Council members by phone using a pseudonym, had previously told The New York Times that he "hadn't been breathing" for weeks as he tried to escape the Islamic State militants who took over his hometown. The other man, a Syrian named Subhi Nahas, had faced threats from both the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian affiliate of al Qaeda, Power told the Security Council gathering. Power pointed out that it's not only extremist groups like the Islamic State that target LGBT individuals in these countries. Both men had faced discrimination and threats from Iraqis and Syrians not linked to the Islamic State or to Jabhat an-Nusra, she said.

  • 20. F_Young  |  August 24, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    In Catholic Colombia, LGBT people find growing acceptance

  • 21. F_Young  |  August 24, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    Courtesy towards LGBT person

    "…..Harsh and ignorant comments have been directed to persons that associate themselves with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) lifestyle and accusatory statements and intolerant attitudes have been directed towards faith communities and persons opposing same sex unions….."

    This patronizing article repeatedly refers to LGBT "lifestyles," but never refers to Christian or anti-gay "lifestyles," as if being LGBT is a choice, but not being religious, homophobic or transphobic.

  • 22. VIRick  |  August 24, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    Kentucky Taxpayers Facing $2.3 Million Legal Bill over Battle Against Equal Marriage

    Taxpayers in Kentucky could well be handed a legal bill of over $2.3 million after the state’s protracted fight against same-sex marriage. The US Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right, bringing equality to all 50 states.

    Prior to the ruling, Kentucky’s attorney-general had refused to continue the fight against equality in the state, branding it pointless, and thus, refused to appeal. But Governor Steve Beshear hired private lawyers to continue the legal battle in defense of the state. However, following the Supreme Court victory for equality, the state must now pick up the tab for the entire legal battle, and it isn’t going to come cheap.

    According to the Lexington "Herald-Leader," lawyers representing the plaintiff same-sex couples have presented the state with a legal bill of over $2 million in legal fees, court costs, and expenses, for the two marriage cases, "Bourke v. Beshear" and "Love v. Beshear," both of which were appealed all the way to the Supreme Court.

    Meanwhile, public records show that Beshear’s private attorneys were contracted for $260,000 for the state's appeals process, bringing the cost of the “pointless” cases to $2.3 million.

    The current, on-going Rowan County case, "Miller v. Davis," is not calculated into this amount.

    Or check here:

    Total cost to taxpayers: $2,351,297. In a statement Monday, 24 August 2015, Beshear said he would challenge the plaintiffs' legal bill as "unreasonable." US District Judge Charles R. Simpson III (who replaced Judge Heyburn) gets the final say.

    So far, courts have sympathized with the couples' lawyers. Last year, US District Judge John G. Heyburn II, who died in April, awarded the lawyers $70,778 in legal fees and court costs for the early stage of their fight in district court. On his own initiative, Heyburn tossed in a $10,000 bonus, saying the lawyers "undertook a difficult, unpopular case and achieved remarkable success." That award was put on hold pending the appeals.

    In their filing Friday, 21 August 2015, in US District Court in Louisville, nine attorneys for the same-sex couples specified who worked how many hours as two separate lawsuits, "Bourke vs. Beshear" and "Love vs. Beshear," wound their way through the district court, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the US Supreme Court.

    Lawyers from the Louisville firms of Clay Daniel Walton and Adams, and the Fauver Law Office led the challenge of Kentucky's ban on same-sex marriage, assisted by the ACLU and the Stanford Law School Supreme Court Litigation Clinic.

  • 23. Sagesse  |  August 25, 2015 at 3:46 am

    Schadenfreude is sweet. Imagine the effect of this hitting the front pages in Kentucky while Miller vs Davis carries on. Puts… something… in perspective for the taxpayers of Kentucky.

  • 24. VIRick  |  August 25, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    "Imagine the effect of this hitting the front pages in Kentucky while 'Miller vs Davis' carries on."

    Sagesse, but it did hit the front pages simultaneously! That's exactly the point, as <a href="” target=”_blank”> (from which I quoted the second half of the account) IS the front page of the Lexington newspaper, the "Herald-Leader," and they've really been going after that Rowan County clerk and her Liberty Counsel attorneys.

    Rowan County is off I-64 about mid-way between Lexington and Ashland, so her antics are local news to the greater Lexington metro area.

  • 25. Sagesse  |  August 25, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    I know they're on the front page at the same time. I'm imagining I'm a taxpayer, saddled with a $2.3 million bill for a legal case the government lost… how much sympathy am I going to have for a whiny self-righteous clerk, who by the way I am also paying to (not) issue marriage licences. Maybe her support will begin to wear thin.

  • 26. F_Young  |  August 25, 2015 at 4:15 am

    VIRick: "Kentucky Taxpayers Facing $2.3 Million Legal Bill"

    Thanks, Rick. I don't know how you keep track of all these legal developments, but I'm grateful that you do!

  • 27. Tony MinasTirith  |  August 25, 2015 at 2:03 am

    Now that NOM has finally handed over it's list of donors loosing it's fight to do so over and over and over, and ME is "The Law of the Land", I wonder how well their continued fund raising activities will fair. I know NOM has branched out and moving to the international stage to opresss GLBTs around the globe. I wonder how Mr. Brown is going to manage to sell his organization to donors. Maybe with the losses in the courts since 2013, the loss at SCOTUS this year, and losses in court to keep their donor list secret, this will mean the end of NOM, Brian Brown, Maggie Gallagher, and John Eastman and their short list of million/billionaire donors.


    UPDATE I: 2:09 PM EDT –
    "The crooks & liars at the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) got caught money laundering $2 million in the Maine gay marriage election," Fred Karger, one of NOM's greatest critics, told NCRM exclusively via an email conversation. "I am honored to have filed the original complaint against NOM nearly six years ago and traveled to Augusta four times to testify against NOM before the Maine Ethics Commission."

    "Kudos to Jonathan Wayne, its Executive Director, Assistant Attorney General Phyllis Gardiner and their offices for their six years of hard work beating NOM at every turn. Great to see NOM pay a record $50,500 fine and spend millions more in attorney's fees. Today is a great day for truth and transparency in elections," Karger, founder of the group Rights Equal Rights, adds.

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