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CALIFORNIA ELECTIONS

Prop. 8 foes, fans amass $60 million

Donations come from California and other states. Contributors on both sides cite their personal beliefs.

October 25, 2008|Dan Morain and Jessica Garrison | Morain and Garrison are Times staff writers.

On the flip side is Jon Stryker of Kalamazoo, Mich. He has given $1.06 million to defeat Proposition 8, after donating $950,000 to battle similar ballot measures in 2006.

A billionaire heir to a medical supply fortune, Stryker is a major Democratic donor, having given more than $2 million in Michigan since 2007 to boost Democratic candidates and $400,000 to a political action committee that assists gays running for office.

Another $1-million donor is David Maltz of Cleveland, a major Democratic donor.

"I'm contributing to No on 8 because it's wrong to eliminate anyone's fundamental rights and unfair to treat some people differently," Maltz said in a statement. "I hope my contribution will encourage others to donate, get involved and help defeat this attack on families."

The California Teachers Assn. has also entered the fray, spending $1.3 million -- more than any other single donor -- to defeat Proposition 8. The California arm of Service Employees International Union kicked in $500,000. Both unions are giving, they say, because their members support same-sex marriage.

"It pertains to our members," said David Sanchez, president of the teachers' union, which represents 340,000 public school teachers. "A lot of our members would like to marry."

California law permits donors to give unlimited sums on ballot measures, opening the way for million-dollar donors. But both sides also raise large sums from small donors.

The Yes-on-8 campaign has been particularly adept at mining small donors, with 30% of its money coming from contributors giving $1,000 or less.

They include folks like Ruth and Irl Denniston. He is 80 but works as a contractor. She sells flowers from their Grass Valley home. The couple gave $100 to the Yes-on-8.

"I'm a Christian, and it is completely against God's commandments," she said. "If we don't hold up God's commandments in our country, what kind of country are we going to have?"

Maiman, the bakery owner, said he wishes he could have given more to defeat Proposition 8. "But I'm in the restaurant business and things are really difficult right now."

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dan.morain@latimes.com

jessica.garrison@latimes.com

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Apple takes

political stand

Computer maker plans to donate $100,000 to fight Proposition 8. BUSINESS, C1

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