On Friday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I)announced that he had given a $250,000 donation to Maryland’s marriage equality campaign. Maryland residents will vote on a referendum — known as Question 6 — this November that would legalize same-sex marriage. If Question 6 passes, Maryland will be the first state to legalize marriage equality through the ballot box — though Washington and Maine could also join the ranks, as voters there will weigh in on a similar referenda on Election Day.
In an email to supporters of Question 6, Bloomberg said:
I do not believe that government has any business telling one class of couples that they cannot marry. The 14th Amendment guarantees us all equal protection under the law, and that’s what Question 6 does — it treats all citizens equally under the law, while protecting religious liberty at the same time.. . . The next great barrier to full equality under the law is marriage equality. There is no doubt in my mind this barrier will fall, just as so many others have.
This is not Bloomberg’s first donation in support of same-sex marriage, however. In 2011, the billionaire mayor gave the maximum donation of $10,300 to four Republican state senators who voted in favor of New York’s marriage equality law, helping three facing primary challenges win reelection. (The fourth retired.) Bloomberg also gave the maximum amount to five Democratic legislators who voted in favor of the measure.
Bloomberg says the law, which generated $259 million in economic benefits for NYC in its first year alone, “made our city more open, inclusive and free — and it has also helped to create jobs and support our economy.” Experts estimate marriage equality would benefit Maryland’s economy by over $90 million annually.
— Greg Noth