One Equal World

Interesting group of donors heir to Milk’s legacy

Posted on: April 3, 2012

Harvey Milk once urged members of the gay community to come out of the closet in order to help bring their heterosexual friends, family, and acquaintances to join the cause.
That the campaign has come a long way, as evidenced in a recent article in the New York Times that discusses the group of donors who have supported the recent campaign aimed at establishing a constitutional right of same-sex marriage through judiciary channels.
According to the New York Times, the recent campaign has been most successful because of a fund-raising network that supports
it, one that is not “quite like any other fund-raising network that has supported gay-related issues over the past 40 years.”
There not only have been greater numbers of straight donors, but contributors come from all over the economic and political spectrum as well.
Many of those contributions have come to pass because of Ken Mehlman, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee.  Since he came out 18 months ago he has helped to raise almost $3 million from groups and people that gay organizers have rarely approached before.
One particular fund-raiser organized by Mehlman included Henry R. Kravis, a private equity investor;  Lewis M. Eisenberg, a former finance chairman for the Republican National Committee; Daniel S. Loeb, a hedge fund manager; and Steve Schmidt, who managed the 2008 presidential campaign of Senator John McCain, among others.
Getting people like this involved in the cause, people who never would have been approached before, who never have been involved before is exactly this sort of concerted effort that Harvey Milk was looking for back in 1978 and, likely, exactly what is needed today.

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