With the Oklahoma City Thunder ready to host Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat on Tuesday, it's worth noting that the game will be played in an arena named for a company that gave $1 million to an anti-gay marriage group. That company's CEO is a part-owner (19%) of the Thunder.
The Thunder plays in Chesapeake Energy Arena, and Aubrey McClendon, CEO of Chesapeake, gave $1 million in the 2004 election cycle to Americans United to Preserve Marriage. The group was formed in 2004 to support the many state initiatives that year that opposed gay marriage. In addition, Tom L. Ward, another Thunder part-owner and CEO of SandRidge Energy, gave $525,000 in 2o04 and $50,000 in 2008 to the same group.
In a 2007 interview with the Duke University Chronicle, McClendon (a Duke benefactor), defended his donation:
"I am for the concept that a marriage should be between a man and a woman; on the other hand, I am for civil unions for gay couples," McClendon said. "In my opinion, that does not make me anti-gay at all. Instead, it makes me pro-the traditional concept of marriage, and I do not believe the biblical sacrament should be between anyone other than a man and a woman." ...
"There were several gay marriage ballot initiatives in states like Missouri and Ohio in 2004," McClendon said. "I felt like I wanted to support those ballot initiatives, which would be in battleground states for the 2004 elections, and I was hoping there would be some advantage to increasing Republican turnout in states like that."
McClendon and Ward are entitled to contribute to whomever they wish. Just as I am free to root for whomever I wish. Go Heat!