Gay marriage: Clooney fundraiser a hint of coming Obama money boom (+video)
President Obama's support for gay marriage is energizing gay and lesbian activists, whose support could help offset Wall Street's support for Mitt Romney. The Clooney fundraiser was just a taste.
(Page 2 of 2)
But after the president’s statement on marriage, prominent gay activists predicted that the White House could expect more energized support from the gay and lesbian community and its supporters.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Gay Rights Battles
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
At first glance, the president enjoys an overwhelming fundraising advantage against his presumptive GOP challenger Mitt Romney. According to the most recent reports, Obama has $104.1 million cash on hand versus $10.1 million for Mr. Romney. But in recent months, support from Wall Street donors has swung sharply to Romney, according to the Center for Responsive Politics – a shift that could prove significant if the race tightens in the fall.
(Unlike Romney, Obama did not face a tough primary, yet has already spent $89.8 million in his reelection bid, compared with $76.5 million in spending for Romney through March 31, the latest date for which figures are available.)
“The industry’s abandonment of Obama could hardly be more dramatic,” said the Center for Responsive Politics in a March 23 posting. “Wall Street’s preferred candidate in the 2008 race with more than $6 million in industry campaign contributions at this point in the cycle, [Obama] has received less than $2.6 million from the industry so far this time around.”
Los Angeles lawyer Dana Perlman, the cochair of Obama’s LGBT finance committee, told Reuters that he is already looking for a bigger venue for next month’s LGBT fundraiser, which had been planned for 700 people. “Everybody wants to do something,” he said.
“The president’s support of full marriage equality is something to be celebrated, and frankly, rewarded,” wrote lesbian activist and Moveon.org’s campaign director Julie Rosen, in a fundraising appeal e-mailed to some 7 million members on Thursday. “The best way to encourage the president to keep showing leadership and taking strong stands it to demonstrate how much his actions mean to you.”
“On a personal note, I can't tell you how deeply meaningful President Obama's statement was to me,” she added. “With my own big gay wedding only 24 days away, it's incredibly uplifting to know that President Obama supports my right to marry the love of my life. That's why for the first time since 2008, I pulled out my credit card and donated to his re-election. I hope you will join me.”
“This is one of those issues that now a majority of Americans see as a basic civil rights issue,” he said in an interview on CBS’s “This Morning” on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the White House as well as House and Senate campaign committees immediately sent out fundraising appeals to help defend the president from a backlash from conservatives on gay marriage. The president sent out a mass e-mail to supporters explaining his decision to "affirm my personal belief that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry," and ending with a "please donate today."
The Democratic National Committee revised the entry page on its website to feature this message: "Same-sex couples should be able to get married. Stand up with the president." Then, this option: "I'm IN."
Pressed on whether fundraising was a factor in the president’s turnabout on gay marriage, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California – an early advocate for gay and lesbian issues in Congress – said no. “The statement that the president made yesterday was something that was the right thing to do for our country, filled my heart with joy,” she told reporters at a briefing on Thursday. “But I really dismiss the idea that this has anything to do with money,” she added. “I really do.”