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Focus Action
reaps millions in donations fighting gay rights

Focus Action
reaps millions in donations fighting gay rights

The public policy arm of the antigay conservative Christian organization Focus on the Family raised nearly $9 million in its first six months of existence--the equivalent of $50,000 a day, according to records reviewed by The Denver Post. Focus on the Family is a nonprofit organization based in Colorado Springs, Colo. The ministry focuses on promoting evangelical Christian teachings on marriage and child rearing through radio programs, publications, and telephone help. Because such organizations are barred from supporting or opposing political candidates, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson last year founded Focus Action to address public policy concerns. Similar groups include AARP and the National Rifle Association. Focus Action's first federal income tax forms illustrate Focus Action's popularity from its inception in April 2004 through last September. It took in $8.8 million, all from individuals. The records show 152 donors contributed at least $5,000 for a total of $2.4 million, so the majority of gifts were relatively small. Of the total, Focus Action said it spent nearly $2 million distributing newsletters, e-mails, and articles to involve people in issues such as same-sex marriage, the role of judges, and "the protection of human life." Nearly $900,000 was spent on radio broadcasts on legislative and public-policy issues, and about the same amount on rallies urging Christians to vote in North Carolina, Louisiana, and South Dakota, which all had close Senate races. Last October, Focus Action also spent $256,025 to mail letters offering Dobson's endorsement of conservative GOP Senate candidates in four states: Mel Martinez in Florida, James DeMint in South Carolina, Thomas Coburn in Oklahoma, and John Thune in South Dakota. All four won. Tom Minnery, vice president of public policy for Focus Action, said that in April and May, the organization also spent $1.2 million on the Senate filibuster debate. Focus Action is now looking at efforts to revive a proposed Federal Marriage Amendment, which would amend the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, and to influence the selection of judges to fill potential Supreme Court vacancies, Minnery said. (AP)

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