Producer Steve Bing plans to contribute $500,000 to the campaign to defeat a ban on gay marriage in California.
His contribution, the largest so far from an entertainment industry figure to the No on 8 campaign, will be made if it is matched by other donors, said Chad Griffin, a political strategist for the campaign who also works with Bing on political and environmental issues. Bing’s contribution also is the largest coming from a non-LGBT individual (translation: he’s straight) to the campaign.
Bing’s match may be reached just given the pace of fund-raising recently. Campaign director Patrick Guererro told the Advocate on Tuesday they had been raising about $1 million per day, although it is uncertain how well that will close the fund-raising gap with the Yes on 8 campaign. Entrepreneur Jonathan Lewis also recently gave $500,000 to the No campaign on the condition that it be matched. Organizers say that they have reached that threshold.
An update to the No on 8 campaign’s plans for a fund-raiser at the Beverly Hills estate of Ron Burkle on Tuesday: Mary J. Blige has been added to the bill as entertainment along with Melissa Etheridge.
Bing is one of the nation’s top donors to Democratic and progressive causes. He’s the top individual contributor to the 527 independent committees this cycle, having contributed more than $4.8 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In 2006, he contributed about $50 million to a California alternative energy initiative, one that fell short at the ballot box as oil and energy companies spent about double that amount to defeat it.
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom said of Bing’s contribution: “The only way we’re going to defeat Proposition 8 is if people follow Steve Bing’s lead and step up big time. Fundamental Constitutional rights are at stake.”