Tennesseans donate nearly $26,000 to oppose California’s Prop. 8


More than $70 million was donated toward California’s Proposition 8, a ballot measure that eliminated the rights of same-sex couples to marry in that state when it passed by a slim margin early this month.

Contributions from Tennesseeans totaled $33,458 with more than 75 percent of those funds in opposition to the marriage ban. Tennesseans opposed to Prop. 8 donated $25,858 and those in support of the marriage ban contributed $7,600.

Tennessee’s largest contribution in opposition to Prop. 8 came from Paul Kelley, a Knoxville retiree, who donated $10,000, accounting for 39% of contributions from Tennessee.

"I feel Prop. 8 is a blow at the freedom of people of whatever sex to choose a mate, and I feel very strongly that individuals should have that choice without interference by things like Proposition 8," Kelley said. "I have a gay son who lives in San Francisco, and my contribution was at his request."

This is not Kelley’s first time to take an interest in GLBT-related causes. He has also contributed to other local and national pro-gay groups in the past.

"I always feel that if I am contributing to a cause I support that I have success to the degree which that agency is successful," Kelley said. "My hope is that, as people understand more what is involved, they will give gay and lesbian couples more freedom. I don’t understand why it is any real concern to conservatives that gay and lesbian persons are able to get married. How does it hurt a heterosexual man or a woman for the neighbors to be married? I have a number of neighbors who are involved in same-sex relationships, and they don’t bother me at all."

There were 92 monetary contributions made by Tennesseeans in opposition to Prop. 8. Click here for a full list provided by the San Francisco Chronicle based on Dalton’s database.

On the other side of the debate, several Tennesseans and one Tennessee business donated money in support of a same-sex marriage ban.

Based on the public records information from ElectionTrack.com and Dalton’s database, here is a list of people who made contributions in support of Prop. 8 to ban same-sex marriage in California.

-Scott D. Bergthold, of the Law Office of Scott D. Bergthold located in Chattanooga, donated $2,500.
-Lee Beaman, CEO and owner of Beaman Automotive Group in Nashville, donated $2,000.
-Erin Arhcer, a homemaker in Germantown, donated $1,500.
-Nathaniel Sullivan, an editor at Lifeway Christian Resources in Nashville, donated $300.
-Timothy Morris, a contractor with Morris Commercial Roofing in Brentwood, donated $250.
-James Gottry, a student in Nashville, donated $250.
-Skylar Hatfield, a homemaker in Arlington, donated $200.
-Laura Gilbert, owner of Gilbert’s Collision Center in Cleveland, donated $100.
-Henry Adkins, a sales representative of Plumbmaster, Inc. in Atoka, made two $100 donations.
-O. Raymond Lowry, a doctor at Morristown Internal Medicine in Morristown, donated $100.
-Donna Carr, a contract worker for Accountemps in Greenbrier, donated $100.
-Karen Lee, a homemaker in Knoxville, donated $100.
-Atlantic Air Tool Company, Inc., located in Taft, donated $100.

The amount of money flowing out of Tennessee toward Prop. 8 is much less than the amount that came into Tennessee in 2006 when there was debate over a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

According to research by Megan Moore at the National Institute for Money in State Politics, contributions in 2006 totaled $458,093. Proponents of the marriage ban raised $299,279, and opponents raised $158,814.