On Monday, Advocacy groups in Maine, Washington, Maryland and Minnesota got a $1 million boost from the Human Rights Campaign. Each of the four states faces a marriage question on the ballot this November in what HRC President Chad Griffin calls a “tipping point year in the fight for marriage equality.” Split four ways, the funds could prove crucial as campaigns ramp up paid media efforts. Per an HRC press release, the organization has put forth $4.8 million toward marriage-related issues in the 2011-2012 election cycle.
In the state where America’s day begins, Mainers United for Marriage has taken a unique approach to the marriage question. Maine will be the first state in which marriage equality groups will proactively bring a ballot initiative to voters. “We’ve always been on the defense, but now we’ve taken control of our own destiny,” said Matt McTighe, the coalition’s Campaign Manager. “We are extremely pleased with this fantastic infusion of money at a time when we need all the help we can get,” he tells us. With just 92 days before voters go to the ballot box, recent polls suggest a strong majority of Maine voters—57 percent—favor marriage equality.
As public support grows, so do campaign coffers nationwide. Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer donated $100,000 each and last month Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his wife Mackenzie pledged $2.5 million to Washington United for Marriage, the largest single contribution to a marriage equality campaign.