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Last-minute checks keep same-sex marriage campaign alive

Hefty checks from Baltimore super-lawyer Peter Angelos and casino giant MGM Entertainment helped fund the critical final days of Maryland's campaign to legalize same-sex marriage, a new report filed with the state board of elections showed.

The ballot measure -- Question 6 -- passed in Maryland by four percentage points. The first Maryland marriage certificates to gay and lesbian couples will be issued in early January.

Marylanders for Marriage Equality, the main group supporting Question 6, raised about $5.2 million, according to the report. The outraised - and outspent - the opponents by more than 2 to 1.

However, going into the final two weeks of the heated campaign, Marylanders for Marriage Equality had a mere $22,000 in their bank account. Angelos, who emerged this year a one of the country's most generous Democratic donors, wrote a $50,000 check four days before the Nov. 6 election.

MGM Entertainment donated $75,000 about two weeks before Election Day. The Las Vegas casino company also poured $46.7 million into a sucessful effort to expand gambling in Maryland. It hopes to build a resort casino in Prince George's County.

Another interesting corporate donor: E-Bay. The online auction site gave $2,000 to support same-sex marriage.

Gov. Martin O'Malley's super PAC, the O' Say Can You See PAC, contributed $1,000 -- one of the first donations from the governor's new fundraising arm.

The Maryland Marriage Alliance, the primary organization trying to defeat the ballot measure, filed papers just before midnight Tuesday showing they raised $2.3 million -- and spent nearly all of it.

They recieved a $100,000 check from the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic orgaization that has increasingly been funding measures to defeat same-sex marriage. Another notable giver: William Lori, Baltimore's archbishop, gave $2,000.

The National Organization for Marriage gave $400,000, bringing their total to about $1.2 million.

An effort to uphold an education measure for illegal immigrants also garnered big checks in the final days of the campaign. Domino Foods gave $100,000 -- bringing the fundraising total for "Educating Maryland's Kids" to about $1.7 million.

The measure passed overwhelmingly and had no organized opposition.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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