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Same-sex marriage advocates strike gold and are spending it

Boosted by $4 million from a Beverly Hills fundraising gala at billionaire Ron Burkle's estate, foes of an initiative to ban same-sex marriage have significantly increased their ad buy -- prompting the measure's backers to scramble for more money.

Spending on the high-profile initiative is fast approaching $60 million, making it by far the most costly ballot measure anywhere in the country this year.

Backers of Proposition 8, which would create a California constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between a man and a woman, said they are being outspent this week by more than $2.7 million on television and radio.

In an interview today, Frank Schubert, chief strategist for the supporters of Proposition 8, detailed the spending disparity, showing that opponents of the measure are outspending the yes side by $1.9 million on television and $830,000 on radio.

"If we can't respond, we're not going to win," Schubert said. Unless he can increase his ad buy, he said, foes of Proposition 8 could outspend supporters by $5 million by election day.

Schubert said he has been calling his big donors all day pleading for more money. He also has sent small donors an unusually urgent e-mail pitch, which opened by saying: "The institution of marriage is in cardiac arrest in California, and I am pleading with you to help save it."

"This is the moment in the campaign where traditional marriage will live or it will die depending on what happens in the next 72 hours," Schubert said.

The Burkle gala earlier this week amounted to a major show of support for same-sex marriage by Hollywood, which had been slow to jump into the fray.

Political consultant Chad Griffin, raising money in Hollywood to defeat the initiative, said hundreds of people attended the gala. Mary J. Blige and Melissa Etheridge performed, and Hollywood figures in attendance included Rob Reiner, James Brolin and Barbra Streisand, Bruce Cohen and Greg Berlanti.

Politicians who showed up included three potential Democratic gubernatorial candidates: Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

Noting that the Yes-on-8 side had been outraising the no side for most of the campaign, Griffin said today: "There was a lot of catching up to do. . . . Perhaps this will get us closer and allow us to counter their scare tactics."

Now, here's a cool tool: Track where the pro and con money is coming from. and try it out. Go here to this special interactive LATimes.com map

-- Dan Morain

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If you are support equal treatment under the law and are voting no on 8, do MORE than just leaving a comment here.

No on 8 needs volunteers and donors. I've never volunteered for a proposition before last night, but I've finally decided this issue is too important to simply keep my views to myself. It was a great experience, working the phones alongside people who feel just as strongly as I do about protecting the right to marry for everyone under our state's laws.

I urge you to give it a try. Go to www.noonprop8.com and find a phone bank near you. Now's the time to turn your opinions into action!

The pitch from supporters is kind of hilarious. This measure will determine whether "traditional marriage will live or it will die"? How unflattering for Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Canada, and everywhere else same-sex marriage is legal. Clearly they just did not have the marriage-killing power that CALIFORNIA does.

Of course, our marriage-killing powers can't be very strong either, since it's been legal here for months and even Griffin doesn't seem to think that's "killed traditional marriage." Sounds to me like the death of traditional marriage is about as real as the boogeyman.

Just ask any of the heterosexual folks in those other places whether they feel their marriages, or the idea of marriage, is less valid, less important to them, or less meaningful simply because their gay neighbors get to do it too.

I cannot believe how truly desperate the supporters of Proposition 8 are. They've talked themselves into a fury because 1) they fear irrationally that terrible things will happen is same-sex marriage REMAINS legal in California and 2) they can't stand the idea that they have to treat gay and lesbian people who are fellow citizens as equals when it comes to marriage. It appears they will do and say anything to win. While I think the Catholics and the Mormons are wrong on this issue, what really galls me are the groups like Focus on the Family which are, in essence, professional gay haters. It's one thing to object to homosexuality if that is the way you view the world. (I don't, but some do.) It's a whole other thing to make your living by hating on other people and rallying those like you to give you money for a crusade. Despicable.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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