Update: Catholics give $46K to fight gay marriage

Updated at 5:20 p.m.

PORTLAND—Maine Catholics gave about $86,000 to fight same-sex marriage through a collection taken up during masses around the state in September.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland said in a release today that parishioners gave $41,000 –– but that only counts the loose money put into baskets during a second collection aimed at supporting the people’s veto campaign opposed to the new law legalizing same-sex marriage.

Donations in envelopes weren’t opened by the churches, and were sent directly to Stand for Marriage Maine, the political action committee organizing opposition to same-sex marriage.

Marc Mutty, chairman of Stand for Marriage Maine, said today that the entire collection -- loose money and envelopes -- raised roughly $86,000. Campaign finance reports for PACs are due to become public next Tuesday.

1:55 p.m.

A second collection taken up during masses in Catholic churches in Maine last month raised at least $41,000 for the campaign opposed to same-sex marriage, according to a release sent out today.

The release said that was the portion of the collection that parishioners chose to put in the collection plate without using the envelopes. It does not count the amount put in the envelopes, which were sent unopened to Stand for Marriage Maine, the political action committee supporting a people's veto of the state's new same-sex marriage law.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland said in the statement that it has filed a campaign finance report with the Maine Ethics Commission detailing contributions to Stand for Marriage Maine.

Campaign finance reports for PACs are due to become public next week. The amount raised during the collection and put into envelopes will likely be detailed in Stand for Marriage Maine's report.

The diocese also contributed $33,000 in in-kind services, including salaries for two employees who are on a leave of absence and whose time is being donated to the campaign, the release said.

Some Catholics were upset that the church took up a second collection aimed at supporting the opposition to same-sex marriage. A new group, Catholics for Maine Equality, urged parishioners to not put money into the collection, but to instead put notes explaining their opposition to the church’s actions.

The church said donations from dioceses and bishops from other areas made to Stand for Marriage Maine totaled $214,550 between July 1 and the end of September.

Copyright 2009 MaineToday Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.