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The multimillion-dollar fight over California’s Proposition 8 heated up this week, with both sides reporting huge contribution totals fueled by wealthy individual donors, labor and corporate groups and, increasingly, lawyers. The Yes on 8 campaign, which supports a constitutional ban on gay marriage, received a staggering $1.1 million in donations between Friday and Saturday alone, according to records filed with the Secretary of State’s office. And on Tuesday the campaign reported another $208,500, almost all of it coming from Michigan philanthropist Elsa Prince, the widow of a wealthy car parts manufacturer. Those contributions weren’t included in the most recent quarterly disclosure report filed with the state, which showed that Prop 8 supporters had already raised more than $3.7 million through June 30. Yes on 8 spokeswoman Jennifer Kerns credited the fundraising success to “nothing in particular. Simply raising funds aggressively in anticipation of a busy campaign season,” she said Wednesday. Campaign filings show that the Yes on 8 campaign has spent thousands of dollars on broadcast e-mails, electronic missives that can quickly reach a broad network of known supporters and donors. Support for the initiative has also been broadcast from pulpits across the country. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for example, urged members attending services nationwide on June 29 to donate their “means and time” to support Prop 8. Political consultants have predicted the two sides could spend a combined $30 million on the November ballot measure. Lawyers recently contributing significant amounts to the Yes on 8 campaign include Scott Roybal, a partner with Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton in Los Angeles ($8,900); William Bunker, a partner with Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear in Orange County ($5,000); Ronald Packard of Packard, Packard & Johnson in Los Altos ($5,000); Gregory Weeks from Rancho Santa Fe ($5,000); and Dean Criddle, a partner in Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe‘s San Francisco office ($5,000). Opponents of Prop 8 raised a combined $4 million through June 30, according to state filings. Several million dollars have been added to that total in recent weeks due to six-figure contributions from Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and the California Teachers Association. “It boils down to our belief that all persons should be allowed equal protection under the law,” said Mike Myslinski, a spokesman for the 340,000-member, politically active teachers union, which gave $250,000. The Bar Association of San Francisco recently launched its own campaign to oppose Prop 8: the Marriage Fairness Task Force. Russell Roeca, BASF president-elect and a founding partner of Roeca Haas Hager, chairs the group. “What we want to do is educate the legal community, remind them of the role of the profession,” Roeca said. The group’s fundraising arm has a goal of raising several hundred thousand dollars for the campaign against Prop 8. The pitch: Same-sex marriage is a civil rights issue, and Prop 8 is an attack on judicial independence. “Even though we’re in challenging financial times, people realize what’s at stake and they’re responding,” said Kelly Dermody, co-chairwoman of the fundraising effort and a partner at Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein who has contributed $10,000 to the No on 8 effort. Other lawyers donating recently to one of several No on 8 campaigns include Lieff Cabraser’s Elizabeth Cabraser ($25,000); federal prosecutor Ellyn Lindsay ($5,000); and Christopher Caldwell of Caldwell, Leslie & Proctor ($25,000).

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