by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Associate Editor
Washington United for Marriage, the campaign working to Approve Referendum 74 in November, raised more than $950,000 in June.
On Monday, Zach Silk, Washington United for Marriage campaign manager, told supporters, 'We've hit some huge numbers this past month, and I'm so grateful that you've been fighting this battle with us.'
Silk reported that supporters made 4,744 contributions and raised $952,267 for the campaign to defend marriage equality and Approve Referendum 74. Seventy-nine percent of those contributions were in amounts less than $100. Ninety percent of the June donations came from Washingtonians.
'I can't tell you how important - and gratifying - it is to see so many people invest early in our campaign to defend the freedom to marry,' Silk said in a July 9 e-mail message to donors.
As of Monday, Washington United for Marriage, according to its most recent filing with the Public Disclosure Commission, has raised more than $2 million.
Preserve Marriage Washington, the group opposing the same-sex marriage law, has raised about $135,000.
Still, Lennon Bronsema, finance director for Washington United for Marriage, warned that the money race will heat up significantly in the coming months.
'Never in the history of the United States has marriage equality won at the ballot box. Not once,' Bronsema told supporters. 'Our opponents know this too, and they are determined to do whatever it takes to stand in the way of change. We will not win this campaign without doing more than we've ever done before to defend marriage equality.'
Washington United for Marriage has launched a fundraising drive called Raising Millions for Marriage. They need 1,000 people to raise $1,000 each from friends and neighbors, to equal $1 million.
'If it were up to just one person, it would be tough, but with 1,000 people working together, we know we can reach our goal,' said Bronsema.
'This race will be close, and our opponents will have access to virtually unlimited funds from the radical right,' he said.
Bronsema brings up an important point. Some members of the community have looked at the small amount of money raised by the opponents of marriage equality as a sign that their campaign is in trouble. The reality of the situation is that we are the ones who stand to lose something in this fight. Their campaign was to put Referendum 74 on the ballot - which they did. Now they only have to keep up the mantra of 'One man and one woman,' and that certainly doesn't cost a lot to do. When they need money they will simply go to their donors. It would be a mistake, at this point in the game, to think we've already won.
And here is something else to keep in mind: the vote to Approve Referendum 74 is less than four months away. That does not leave much time to fundraise. This is why you've heard Silk say over and over again, 'Early money matters.'
To make a donation, or to sign up to be one of the 1,000-at-$1,000 folks, visit Washington United for Marriage online at www.washingtonunitedformarriage.org.
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