Brad Pitt donates to Minnesota “Vote No” efforts

by Jessica Lee

Moneyball actor Brad Pitt invested $100,000 in four states, including Minnesota, to fight initiatives against gay marriage. The Minnesota amendment would ban same-sex marriage while the ballot initiatives in Maine, Maryland and Washington would legalize gay marriage.

Pitt’s donation went to The Human Rights Campaign National Marriage Fund, a nationwide LGBT campaign that has already given $5 million to the states’ gay marriage campaigns. Pitt’s donation was split evenly between the four states.

"It's unbelievable to me that people's lives and relationships are literally being voted on in a matter of days," Pitt wrote in an email going out Wednesday to supporters of the gay rights group. "In Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington, voters will go to the polls to decide if gay and lesbian couples — our friends and neighbors — are worthy of the same protections as everyone else."

In an article by the Associated Press, the marriage fight in Minnesota is looking to be the most expensive constitutional amendment campaign in the state’s history. Combined, both sides have raised over $16 million— opponents doubling any anti-gay efforts.

Minnesota marriage activists said Pitt’s donation would help them raise the $380,000 that’s needed for them advertise on television through Tuesday’s Election Day, according to a report by The Los Angeles Times.

"It makes a huge difference for us," said Richard Carlbom, campaign manager of Minnesota United for All Families, in the article. "Every dollar counts. Without this kind of money right at the end, we would have to slow down.”

In the past, Pitt usually refrains from giving to political efforts. He made the exception, however, as both he and his wife Angelina Jolie are outspoken about gay marriage.

He isn’t the only Hollywood actor getting involved. In late October, Actress Ann Hathaway announced a donation to Freedom to Marry, a pro-gay marriage campaign, in exchange for her wedding photos.

Since the beginning of last year, Freedom to Marry has contributed $4.5 million to ballot measures in Minnesota and the three other states that are fighting the amendments, according to a report by MPR.

Donations from celebrities helps draw attention to the issue and inspires other people to come forward and follow their lead, gay activists said in The Los Angeles Times.

"There's not one of our campaigns that doesn't have additional needs," said Chad Griffin, Human Rights Campaign President, in the article. "Getting an email from Brad is something that gets people's attention at a time when everyone's inbox is incredibly crowded."