In Maine, Catholics won’t name source of $100,000 contribution to anti-gay campaign. What are they trying to hide?

Earlier this week, the forces trying to repeal Maine’s new same-sex marriage report filed their first campaign reports. Focus on the Family and the National Organization for Marriage were major donors.

There was also $100,000 contribution from the Diocese of Maine, which seemed like a lot of money coming from an entity that’s been closing down parishes. The spokesman for the anti-marriage campaign, Marc Mutty, who is also the spokesman for the Diocese of Maine, couldn’t or wouldn’t give a definitive explanation of the donation. He gave a very mysterious and jargon-filled response — the kind of response a press spokesperson gives when the person really doesn’t want to answer the question. I have a hard time believing that the Diocese of Maine doesn’t know the source of a $100,000 gift. Maine isn’t a wealthy state — and not a lot of people ever use the term “church dogma.” Why can’t Mutty just answer the question? What are they trying to hide:

In the face of recent firings at the Trinity Catholic School and the plans for closing two Catholic parishes in Lewiston, both due to declining revenue, the revelation that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland had spent $100,000 on efforts to repeal the recently passed same-sex marriage law took some Catholics by surprise.

“I saw that $100,000 figure in the paper and it was very demoralizing,” said David Webbert, an Augusta lawyer, who for years attended Auburn’s St. Philip’s Church with his family and now occasionally attends in Winthrop.

But Marc Mutty, a leader of the group seeking to repeal the law who is on leave from his work at the diocese, said parishioners should know the donated funds were not taken from the collection plate.

“The money is dedicated revenues that were provided by a donor for causes such as these and money from the collection basket or any of those types of things would never be used,” he said.

Mutty said he only had limited details regarding the origins of the donation.

“It’s my understanding the money was left to the Portland diocese for defending church dogma or policy, that sort of thing. It wasn’t specific to this particular issue. Our application to this issue was our choice, but it fell within the general parameters of the donor’s request,” he said.

That’s a pretty weak response. Seriously, what are they trying to hide? And, the leaders of the Catholic church in Maine think it’s more important to be anti-gay than to keep open churches? Maybe that’s one reason parishes are closing.

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On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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