Billionaire New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is putting his pocketbook where his support for gay marriage is by giving $250,000 to the group pushing the issue in Maryland while advocates in Maine, Minnesota and Washington State are also working to win the debate to redefine marriage.
"Maryland will always hold a special place in my heart. ... So when Governor (Martin) O'Malley asked me to support Question 6, I didn't hesitate," said Michael Bloomberg, who attended college at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
But Bloomberg is not the only New York resident with deep pockets to make a sizable donation to the Maryland cause. Hedge Fund guru Paul Singer also gave a $250,000 donation. Singer has a son who married a man in Massachusetts and has supported other state initiatives and candidates who support gay marriage.
Earlier this year, the Maryland State Senate and the Assembly passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage by a razor-thin margin that took former GOP Vice President Dick Cheney and other notable Republicans to help sway a handful of their fellow party members to join the Democrats to pass the bill.
However, advocates that opposed the bill gathered more than enough signatures to force the issue to a vote in November. A similar situation played out in Washington State, also forcing the issue on their state's ballot this fall.
Thirty-two times since 1998, voters have gone to the polls and rejected gay marriage but this year could be different as three states – Maryland, Washington and Maine – have polls that show the issue passing. Minnesota is still considered a toss-up state.
Currently, six states allow same-sex marriage and recently court rulings surrounding the Defense of Marriage Act and other related cases have given gay activists the momentum to encourage elected officials and party leaders to be more welcoming to the issue.
The intensity surrounding the issue has prompted homosexual advocates nationwide to capitalize on winning at least one to three states in their hopes to reverse a 14-year losing streak.
Marylanders for Marriage Equality has reported raising $3.3 million compared to the group opposing the issue, Maryland Marriage Alliance, whic has raised only $838,621 as of last week.
Nonetheless, money is expected to play a significant role in all four races.
"Our opposition uses this talking point with elected officials and in courtrooms," Chad Griffin, president of HRC, told The Associated Press. "If we're able to win one of these four, it will be a narrative change –proof that the public has moved our way dramatically."
The Human Rights Campaign has donated $4.4 million to the four states when same-sex marriage is on the ballot. Still, pro-family groups are not giving up despite trailing in fundraising.
"We definitely can win all four [states] if we can increase the fundraising," said Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage, which has pumped more than $2 million into the campaigns against gay marriage.