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Reality Check: Who Has More Money In Marriage Amendment Battle?

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(credit: CBS) Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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ST. PAUL (WCCO) — The biggest election contest in Minnesota isn’t the U.S. Senate race or the Presidential race. It’s the campaigns to pass — or defeat — the constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

It’s already among the most expensive ever in Minnesota with almost $10 million raised so far. However, new campaign spending reports show one side has a lopsided advantage in the money race.

Minnesotans United for All Families, which is trying to defeat the amendment, reports raising $2.56 million since July, and $8.2 million total.

The main group supporting the amendment, Minnesota for Marriage, reports raising $560,000 since July, and about $1.4 million total.

The lopsided money advantage has helped the Vote No marriage group buy television ad time and build a statewide get-out-the vote effort.

Minnesotans United says 87 percent of its money comes from inside Minnesota, and that it has more than 44,350 individual donors.

Minnesota for Marriage reports only 156 contributors, and two of them account for $850,000.

More than half of the pro-amendment money comes from one source: the Roman Catholic Church. The Minnesota Catholic Conference contributed $200,000 to the effort in September alone, bringing its total for the year to $600,000.

The conservative Minnesota Family Council also gave $100,000 in July, and a quarter million dollars total in 2012.

Minnesotans United reports it spent $2.3 million dollars in 2012 on television ads. The pro-amendment group Minnesota for Marriage listed no similar expenditures.

Here are the spending reports filed Wednesday by Minnesota for Marriage and by Minnesotans United For All Families.

Here is a statement from John Helmberger, Minnesota for Marriage Chairman:

“Our latest report reveals that our 2012 donor contributions nearly doubled in only two months’ time since the July report. These numbers reflect what we are hearing from the majority of Minnesotans who understand that marriage is the unique union of one man and one woman and that children need their mothers and fathers. Since around the time of the State Fair, these folks have been taking a more public role in protecting the definition of marriage in Minnesota.”

“Many choose to engage by volunteering—we are continuing to work with the tens of thousands of new supporters and volunteers who signed up at the State Fair. Others show their support by putting a VOTE YES yard sign in their lawn—we have distributed nearly 50,000 since the Fair with another 25,000 nearly entirely spoken for. Still others have given generously to support the efforts of the Minnesota for Marriage campaign as it works tirelessly to defend marriage.”

“We are pleased with our fundraising efforts to-date and are incredibly grateful to the thousands of supporters who have donated their time and money to see marriage preserved in Minnesota so that it can continue to be our most fundamental social institution and the most pro-child institution we have. We look forward to continued financial and grassroots support as the campaign gears up for its final phases of advertising and get-out-the-vote efforts prior to November 6th.”

“We’ve never been surprised by the amount of money wealthy same-sex ‘marriage’ activists are willing to pour into their attempt to change the minds of Minnesotans on the definition of marriage. In fact, we predicted over a year ago that we would be outspent 3 or 4 to 1. We are confident that as we continue our final outreach effort, the voices of the majority of Minnesotans will speak louder at the polls than the amount of money wasted in a futile attempt to convince people that men and women are interchangeable, and the Marriage Amendment will pass on November 6th.”

Here is a statement from Minnesotans United for All Families campaign manager Richard Carlbom:

“We are incredibly proud of the support Minnesotans are showing for our efforts. Real Minnesotans would be hurt by this amendment, including thousands of families who are being devalued by supporters of the amendment. Minnesotans know this amendment is wrong, and they’re making a personal investment in the efforts to defeat it.”

“We know that soon, the special interests pushing this amendment will flood the state with money to fund incredibly hurtful, misleading and divisive television ads. We are humbled by the incredible energy of this grassroots coalition that is making it possible for us to spread a powerful message of freedom and how no one should be told it’s illegal to marry the person you love. Together, we will stand united for all families in Minnesota.”

Despite a 6 to 1 money advantage by opponents of the marriage amendment, the outcome is still too close to call, according to public opinion polls.

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