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February 26, 2007

Sonics/Storm owners bankrolled anti-gay marriage group

Posted by David Postman at 9:44 AM

At the Slog Josh Feit is following up a tip he got that some of the new owners of the Sonics and Storm are major backers of an anti-gay marriage group.

It turns out that in 2004 and 2005 Aubrey McClendon and Tom Ward — principals in the ownership team — were the top two donors to Americans United to Preserve Marriage, according to records at PoliticalMoneyLine. The group is led by conservative Christian activist and former Republican presidential candidate Gary Bauer.

McClendon gave $625,000 in 2004. Ward gave $475,000 in 2004 and 2005, with the most recent donation coming in a $100,000 chunk in December 2005.

Feit focuses on what the reaction will likely be from Storm, not Sonics, fans. And (if you didn't know) for good reason, as The Times wrote last year:

Anyone who's been to a Storm game knows the crowd is decidedly female. Women hold hands; some hands wear matching wedding bands and are, on occasion, tethered to some Storm-attired tot.


They're as much a fixture of the city's lesbian community as they are a destination for straight people.

But the Oklahoma group's decidedly conservative political bent is likely to be of concern to many more in liberal Seattle than just Storm fans. And that could matter at a time when the team is looking to the Legislature to approve a taxpayer subsidy for a new arena. That's the same Legislature that is expected to approve benefits for domestic partnerships this year. And the NBA is the same league that recently banished a former player from All Star weekend because of his anti-gay comments.

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