NYC's billionaire mayor pledges $125k against MN marriage amendment

New York City Mayor Bloomberg with former President Bush in 2005, and right, at a pride parade in 2009.
New York City Mayor Bloomberg with former President Bush in 2005, and right, at a pride parade in 2009.
left, Wikimedia Commons, right, Boss Tweed via Flickr.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has vowed to donate $10 million of his personal fortune to political causes, including gay marriage ballot initiatives, around the country by election day. Yesterday, that pledge came to Minnesota.

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The billionaire businessman-turned-politician announced $375,000 in donations to campaigns working to legalize gay marriage in Maine and Washington, and another $125,000 to Minnesotans United for all Families, the group behind all those orange "Vote No" yard signs.

That adds up to a cool half-million in support of same sex marriage on Monday alone. Earlier this month, the mayor gave a Maryland effort an additional $250,000.

In response to Bloomberg's gift, a "challenge grant," a dozen local MN United supporters have already joined to offer a $125,000 match.

Several business leaders, from the Twins-owning Pohlad family to major corporations like General Mills, have opposed the marriage amendment from the start. Richard Carlbom, MN United campaign manager, emphasized the business angle following Bloomberg's announcement.

"Business leaders across the state -- and those around the nation, like Mayor Bloomberg -- have made it clear that this amendment is bad for business," he said in a statement. "In order to keep our state a thriving and competitive place to live and do business, we must maintain our status as a national leader in attracting top talent."

Kate Brickman, spokesperson for MN United, described an enthusiastic mood in the Vote No camp following the news. "We're thrilled to see people helping us in these final weeks," she says.

Minnesota for Marriage, the group working to pass the amendment, is predictably less excited.

"We believe it is the people of Minnesota who should decide the question of marriage, not out-of-state donors like Bloomberg," a spokesperson for the Vote Yes-ers, Chuck Darrell, told the Associated Press.

Last July, New York passed its own marriage equality law, making it one of six states, plus D.C., where anyone can wed anyone. Our own proposed amendment, of course, wouldn't add us to those ranks: Minnesotans won't be voting on whether or not to legalize same sex marriage, but instead, whether or not to amend the state Constitution to make it even more illegal than it already is.

Since that's a little depressing, here's a fun picture of Mayor Bloomberg waving a pride flag.

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