California gay marriage fundraiser reaches for stars

Thu Oct 16, 2008 9:52pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Battling to save the right to same-sex marriage in what is expected to be a close state vote next month, California gay rights backers are turning to Hollywood celebrities for help at a major fundraiser.

Actress and singer Barbra Streisand is expected at the event on Tuesday and singers Melissa Etheridge and Mary J. Blige will perform, organizers said on Thursday.

Supermarket billionaire Ron Burkle will host the event at his Beverly Hills home, with a private $25,000-a-plate dinner. Among other entertainment figures planning to attend are actor/director Rob Reiner.

In recent weeks, director Steven Spielberg and actor Brad Pitt each donated $100,000 in support of the campaign to preserve the right to gay marriage.

The fundraiser comes as backers of same-sex marriage fight to stem a tide of support for Proposition 8, a November 4 ballot measure that seeks to define marriage under the California Constitution as only between a man and a woman.

A poll released last week by Survey USA showed 47 percent of Californians supported the measure, while 42 percent opposed it.

"We're feeling very good about the surge in the campaign," said Sonja Eddings Brown, a spokeswoman for Protect Marriage, the group advocating for a "Yes" vote on Proposition 8.

The "Yes" campaign has raised $25.4 million, compared with $15.8 million for those who wish to maintain the right to gay marriage.   Continued...

<p>Mary J. Blige, wearing Michael Kors and Lorraine Schwartz jewellery, arrives for the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala, "Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy" in New York, May 5, 2008. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>