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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 28, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 35
NOM donors revealed!
Group got big bucks from six funders
Section One
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NOM donors revealed!
Group got big bucks from six funders

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

NOM finally turned over its list of donors to Maine officials after years of legal wrangling aimed at concealing its funding sources.

The anti-Gay group raised money nationally that it then channeled into Maine's 2009 initiative banning same-sex marriage. Maine campaign finance laws require disclosure of donors, but NOM fought to keep the names secret.

On August 4, however, the Maine Supreme Court refused to overturn a ruling by the state's Ethics Commission requiring NOM to release the names. Only six names were on the list.

Despite its claims that it is nondenominational, NOM's donor list reveals it was largely funded by Roman Catholic groups and individuals.

The largest donor to NOM's Maine campaign was Sean Fieler of New York City, a prominent Catholic and the president of Chiaroscuro Foundation, who gave $1.25 million to NOM.

Fieler's foundation has also funded the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture, a front group for anti-Gay University of Texas pseudo-scientist Mark Regnerus, author of a 'study' condemning same-sex parenting.

John Templeton of Pennsylvania and Terrance Caster of California each donated $300,000 to NOM.

Templeton, who died in May, was CEO of the Templeton Foundation - created by his father, Sir John Templeton. He was an evangelical Christian and a long-time funder of NOM. Caster owns a self-storage chain, and is a prominent donor to Catholic charities.

The group also received $140,000 in 2009 from The Knights of Columbus, the world's largest Catholic fraternal service organization.

Richard Kurtz, the only NOM donor to actually come from Maine, gave $50,000. Kurtz has also donated to the Republican Party and several of their candidates.

Benjamin Brown of Michigan gave $200 to the group.

'The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) not only knowingly broke the law, but stonewalled a state investigation for six years - wasting taxpayer money,' said Human Rights Campaign spokesperson Stephen Peters.

'What they were hiding is what we knew all along - NOM is a sham organization made up of a handful of donors. It's astonishing that these donors - including only one from inside the state - wasted such large amounts of money trying to take Maine backwards in its journey towards equality for LGBT people.'

Although NOM was successful in barring same-sex marriage in Maine in 2009, the state's voters reversed themselves only four years later, passing a marriage equality initiative in 2012.

NOM's fundraising has been on a downward spiral since then, with its 2013 budget down 50% from 2012. The group ended 2013 $2.5 million in debt.

The initial complaint against NOM was lodged by openly Gay Republican party activist Fred Karger.

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