Republican Hedge Fund Honchos Biggest Donors To N.Y. Gay Marriage Effort

May 17 2011 | 1:55am ET

A trio of prominent hedge fund managers—all of them major Republican donors—have thrown their financial heft behind a push to legalize gay marriage in New York.

Elliott Management’s Paul Singer, SAC Capital Advisors’ Steven Cohen and AQR Capital Management’s Clifford Asness are behind about $1 million in donations to New Yorkers United for Marriage in recent weeks. All three are generous givers to Republican and conservative causes, and their support could alter the balance in New York, where the State Senate is controlled by Republicans.

The effort is led by Singer, one of the G.O.P.’s biggest financial supporters in the country and the chairman of the conservative Manhattan Institute. Singer, who has a gay son who married in Massachusetts, has given $425,000 to the cause and solicited a further $500,000. He has also signed an open letter pushing for gay marriage rights in the Empire State and has hosted private meetings with fellow conservatives to make the case for gay marriage, The New York Times reports.

“We believe in social justice for all Americans,” Cohen told the Times. Asness, a Tea Party supporter, echoed that sentiment.

“This is an issue of basic freedom,” he said.

All told, Singer, Cohen and Asness, alongside New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a key donor to Republican state senators, account for about two-thirds of the money raised by New Yorkers United, the Times reports.

Another major donor to the effort has been Third Point’s Daniel Loeb, until recently a major Democratic donor who has recently funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republicans.

“I think it is important in particular for Republicans to know this is a bipartisan issue,” Loeb told the Times. “If they’re Republican, they will not be abandoned by the party for supporting this. On the contrary, I think they will find that there is a whole new world of people who will support them on an ongoing basis if they support this cause.”

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