Hedge Fund Managers Finance Same-Sex Marriage Push

Jul 30 2012 | 11:46am ET

Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos' $2.5 million contribution to help keep same-sex marriage legal in his home state made headlines last week. But he's merely joining the hedge fund honchos, many of them Republicans, who have financed the marriage equality push over the last several years.

Elliott Management's Paul Singer, AQR Capital Management's Clifford Asness, Third Point's Daniel Loeb and Baupost Group's Seth Klarman have all given to the Freedom to Marry PAC. Those four and Ken Mehlman, campaign manager for President George W. Bush's 2004 campaign who now works at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, have given the group a total of $1.5 million.

Singer, Asness, Loeb and SAC Capital Advisors' Steven Cohen previously worked to support same-sex marriage in New York, which approved it last year. Freedom to Marry is backing referenda on same-sex marriage legalization in Maine, Maryland and Minnesota this year.

"This issue is a no-brainer for me," Asness told Bloomberg News. "While you won't change people with radical views, you can help give courage and cover to the moderate Republicans out there who want to back gay marriage."

But what of his backing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee to take on President Barack Obama in November, who is a strident opponent of same-sex marriage.

"I disagree with Romney firmly on this issue," Asness allows. "But I agree with him way more on issues across the board that I do with Obama, making Romney an easy choice for me."

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