The group trying to repeal Maryland's new same-sex marriage law filed more than enough signatures to trigger a referendum, but their finances looked far less impressive.
The Maryland Marriage Alliance raised a mere $5,000 in the past month -- and owes $88,000 to various vendors. The biggest unpaid bill, $74,000, is to MDPetitions.com, the outfit run by Del. Neil Parrott, a Washington County Republican. The group also owes about $5,000 in legal fees.
Dereck McCoy, the executive director of the Maryland Marriage Alliance, said he expects to clear up the bills shortly. And he cautioned drawing any conclusions about the strength of their fundraising from the numbers on the report. After all, state financial disclosure laws allow advocacy groups to show only the sliver of their fundraising and expendatures specifically for gathering signatures.
"The petition fund report is very different from fundraising for Maryland marriage," McCoy said. He noted that the Maryland Marriage Alliance has received other large donations for the general purpose of "protecting marriage in Maryland" that has not been reported.
Advocates for same-sex marriage -- who are holding a high dollar fundraiser tonight in Ocean City -- showed some glee at the numbers. A tweet from Marylanders for Marriage Equality noted that their group raised more money today than the opponents did for their petition effort all of last month.
The largest unpaid bill is to MDPetitions.com. McCoy said he's working through some questions about the invoce from the group. MDPetitions.com provided an assortment of services -- they collected some signatures online, helped with the Maryland Marriage Alliance website, and also double checked each of the petitions filed in the end of May.
Of the 115k petitions filed in May, the State Board of Elections only disqualified 6 percent.