Summarized by Kent Larsen
Initiative foes up the ante ($300K for CA Marriage Campaign)
Planet Out NewsPlanet 18Aug99 L1
By NewsPlanet Staff
ETrade boss gives $300,000 to fight
San Francisco CA Examiner 17Aug99 L1
By Robert Salladay: Examiner Capitol Bureau
With one donation, opponents of the Knight initiative may have
achieved some fundraising parity. At a fundraising event August 15th,
Kathy Levinson and her partner Jennifer Levinson donated $300,000 to
fight the anti-gay-rights initiative. The event also raised an
additional $200,000, estimated Mike Marshall, manager of the
Californians for Fairness campaign. As recently as June 30th,
supporters of the initiative held a 4-1 fundraising edge.
The ballot initiative would confirm current California law that
restricts marriage to heterosexual couples and would bar recognition
of legal same-gender marriages performed elsewhere. The LDS Church
urged members in Priesthood and Relief Society meetings in May to
support the initiative, and donations prior to June 30th reflected
San Francisco Supervisor Mark Leno was one of 120 guests at a party
at Levinson's home where she announced the donation. "When she first
made her announcement, she had everyone on their feet, cheering
wildly," said Leno. "It was a very exciting time." Levinson is
President and Chief Operating Officer of on-line stock broker ETrade
of Menlo Park, California, which she joined in 1996 after working for
Charles Schwab for 15 years. She is a multimillionaire and with her
partner is raising two children.
Levinson has not been politically active prior to this donation, and
now the donation may open ETrade to pressure from the religious
right, even though the donation was made by Levinson personally,
rather than by the company. When the San Francisco Examiner asked
Definition of Marriage initiative campaign spokesman Rob Stuzman to
comment on the donation, he said, "Oh man, I have an ETrade account.
I'll have to switch." But switching to another on-line broker may not
make a lot of difference. Charles Schwab's co-CEO, who worked with
Levinson at Schwab reportedly gave $5,000 to fight the intiative.
Stuzman and other supporters of the initiative are not surprised at
the donation. "There are very wealthy gays and lesbians who
potentially could be very large donors to their campaign," he said.
He predicts an agressive fund-raising war over the next several