NOM Funneled Millions To Fight Maine Marriage Equality, But Had Only One Big Donor From The State

The group spent more than $2 million to beat back same-sex marriage in the state.
<span>Steven Bridges, left, receives a wedding ring from Michael Snell at City Hall in Portland, Maine, on Dec. 29, 2012. The
Steven Bridges, left, receives a wedding ring from Michael Snell at City Hall in Portland, Maine, on Dec. 29, 2012. The couple made history as the first same-sex couple to be married in the state. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

The National Organization for Marriage's campaign to overturn the marriage equality law in Maine had just one major donor from the state, according to newly released campaign finance documents released by court order. 

In 2009, NOM funneled more than $2 million to the group Stand for Marriage Maine, which led the ballot fight to stop same-sex marriage in the state. That contribution amounted to one-third of Stand for Marriage Maine's donations, but NOM refused to make its donors public.

In May 2014, the Maine Ethics Commission ruled that NOM had violated campaign finance law and ordered the conservative group to pay a $50,250 penalty and release its donors. Although NOM paid the penalty, it continued to resist disclosure. 

The organization, however, officially lost that fight on Aug. 4, when the Maine Supreme Judicial Court ordered it to hand over its donors, resulting in Monday's filing.

As the Portland Press Herald notes, of the seven donors who gave more than $100 to NOM, only one was actually from the state of Maine: Richard Kurtz, who, along with his wife, has also donated to Gov. Paul LePage (R) and the Maine Republican Party.

NOM's biggest donor was Sean Fieler, a New York hedge fund executive who gave $1.25 million. Fieler has spent more than $4.6 million on state and federal political campaigns and super PACs since 2010, and millions more on anti-marriage equality groups. He and his wife have also started funding anti-transgender rights efforts across the country.

Opponents of Maine's marriage equality law launched their campaign to stop it the day after the governor signed it. The ballot measure ended up passing, 53 to 47 percent, and the law never went into effect.

In June, the Supreme Court ruled that state bans on marriage equality are unconstitutional

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