Major Prop. 8 Donor Doug Manchester Dumps His Wife

Well, well, well…what have we HERE? Crooks and Liars catches a San Diego news item I hadn’t seen yet:

In July 2008, hotelier and developer Doug Manchester donated $125,000 to help gather signatures for a proposition that would ban same-sex marriage in California. The early money was crucial to getting the initiative—which ultimately passed—on the ballot. At the time, he told The New York Times that he made the donation because of “my Catholic faith and longtime affiliation with the Catholic Church,” which preferred that marriage remain between a man and a woman. Indeed, the Catholic Church has vehemently opposed gay marriage. Then again, it’s also not too keen on divorce.

On Oct. 9, 2008, Manchester ended 43 years, eight months and nine days of marriage to Elizabeth Manchester by moving out of their La Jolla abode. The couple spent the next several months trying to reach a quiet settlement on how best to distribute millions of dollars in cash and other assets. In July, those talks totally broke down, and Doug started playing financial hardball with Elizabeth, allegedly draining the couple’s shared accounts and stealing her mail. On Aug. 6, Elizabeth filed a petition for redress in family court. All of the information in this story comes from those petitions.

(above: Doug Manchester, Plastic Surgery Disaster and What’s Wrong With Marriage in California)

Why do I care? Well, aside from the fact that California is my home state, I have a personal connection to this news: I went to high school with Doug Manchester’s daughter, Molly, at The Bishop’s Schools For Boys And Girls (no really, that was the school’s name back then, though it’s been shortened and de-pompous-ed since). We were in the same year (interesting but tangential side note: Andrew Cunanan, the infamous murderer of Gianni Versace, was two years behind Molly and me — go figure).

After graduation, I moved up north to attend college at Cal – and, as you might expect, never returned to San Diego, given the difference between the two cities. However, my family remained there, and I visit fairly regularly. I also have a dear brother – who, not coincidentally to this story, is gay – living in the Bay Area still. But I moved with my own family to the Atlanta area in 2003, so I was personally out-of-the-loop for the whole Prop. 8 fight. I followed it in the news, like a lot of us did, but until just this moment I had no idea that good old Doug Manchester was one of the movers and shakers behind that initiative, which worked so hard – and, for the time being, successfully – to deny so many people like my own brother the same rights that I enjoy as a married man.

So my sense of both irony and schadenfreude is deliciously heightened by a distant – but pretty vivid (Molly and my graduating class at Bishop’s was 70 people) – personal connection. I don’t bear my old classmate Molly Manchester any particular ill will – though we were never close, she struck me at the time as a mostly harmless quintessential popular kid: social butterfly and perhaps a bit light in the gravitas department (but hey, we were in high school!), but nothing awful that I remember.

But I have to say, upon learning just now that Molly’s dad Doug was behind Prop. 8 last year: both fuck you, Dougie, for that foul turd of a piece of legislation….and also thank you, for reminding us all so vividly about the sanctity of marriage, and of the fact that even if there’s not equality of marriage today in California, there’s at least equality of who-can-desecrate-or-screw-it-up. Actually, even that’s not true! If gays can’t marry legally in California, then I guess they aren’t to blame for whatever tarnish is currently upon the institution. Divorced hetero assholes like you are responsible for all that, Dougie. You and, I suppose, these folks:

(suggested caption: “After Viewing This Picture, Do Not EVER, Under ANY Circumstances, Try To Talk To Me Again About GAYS Being The Group That’s Threatening The Sanctitty – Oops, I mean “Sanctity” Of Marriage.”)

So thanks again for the reminder, Doug; thanks for showing us intimately and personally how unseriously you take not only your own piously-touted Catholic faith but also your supposed reverence for the institution of marriage — your own and everyone else’s. And enjoy the hell out of your ocean-view suite at the La Valencia Hotel, or wherever you decide to take up bachelor residence, you sanctimonious, hypocritical piece of overprivileged cow manure.