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A review of Obama’s top bundlers, who have brought in $500,000 or more for the campaign, shows that about one in six publicly identify themselves as gay. His overall list of bundlers also includes a number of gay couples who have wed in jurisdictions where same-sex marriage was legal.
“It’s a very important constituency,” said Los Angeles attorney Dana Perlman, a top Obama bundler who is helping organize a 700-person LGBT fundraiser for the president on June 6. “The community for the most part is wholeheartedly behind this man.”
But that relationship was put to the test this week after Vice President Joe Biden said he was “absolutely comfortable” with same-sex unions. The remarks led to mounting pressure on Obama to also shift his position on gay marriage, which he had previously characterized as “evolving.”
[…]Some liberal gay donors had threatened to withhold contributions over Obama’s stance on gay marriage as well as his administration’s decision to shelve an executive order banning sexual-identity discrimination by federal contractors.
[…]The Obama campaign’s list of bundlers includes a number of prominent names in the gay community. Rainmakers at the top $500,000-and-up level include Perlman; interior designer Michael S. Smith and HBO executive James Costos; Chicago Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts, a board member of the Lambda Legal gay rights group; and Colorado political activist Tim Gill and his husband, Scott Miller.
The Advocate, a publication focused on the gay community, assembled a list of “Obama’s Power Gays” last year that included many of his biggest fundraisers. In addition to Perlman and others, the Advocate list included Pfizer executive Sally Susman ($500,000-plus); activist Kevin Jennings ($50,000 to $100,000); and Texas philanthropist Eugene Sepulveda ($500,000-plus).
Chad Griffin, the incoming president of the Human Rights Campaign, which has at times criticized Obama’s stance on gay issues, has raised between $100,00 to $200,000 for the president’s re-election campaign.
Griffin was the person who asked Biden at a recent closed meeting with gay activists, “How do you feel about us?” Biden recounted the question, and his emotional answer supportive of gay marriage, during his interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Griffin said in an interview with the Washington Post earlier this week that he had repeatedly pressed Obama in private to support marriage equality.
Some leading gay and progressive donors are so angry over President Obama’s refusal to sign an executive order barring same sex discrimination by federal contractors that they are refusing to give any more money to the pro-Obama super PAC, a top gay fundraiser’s office tells me. In some cases, I’m told, big donations are being withheld.
Jonathan Lewis, the gay philanthropist and leading Democratic fundraiser, is one of many gay advocates who has been working behind the scenes to pressure Obama to change his mind. When Obama decided against the executive order last month, arguing that he would pursue a legislative solution instead, advocates were furious — such a solution will never pass Congress, the executive order has been a priority for advocates for years, and the move smacked of a political cave to conservatives who will not support Obama no matter what he does.
Now these and other donors are beginning to withold money from Priorities USA, the main pro-Obama super PAC, out of dismay over the president’s decision. (Some of these donors have already maxed out to the Obama campaign, I’m told.) It’s the first indication that areas in which Obama is at odds with gay advocates — and in fairness, his record on gay rights has been very good — could dampen overall fundraising.
Paul Yandura, a political adviser to Lewis, emails me a statement:
A number of gay and progressive donors, unsolicited, have indicated to us that they aren’t considering requests to donate to the Obama SuperPac because of the president’s refusal to the sign the order. And those are high-dollar asks, some in the seven digits. We have heard from at least half a dozen major gay and progressive donors that they stand united with us. There is still time for the President to do the right thing and sign this executive order, our great hope is that he does so immediately.
So it’s no surprise, then, that Obama announced his support for gay marriage:
President Obama today announced that he now supports same-sex marriage, reversing his longstanding opposition amid growing pressure from the Democratic base and even his own vice president.
In an interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts, the president described his thought process as an “evolution” that led him to this decision, based on conversations with his staff members, openly gay and lesbian service members, and his wife and daughters.
“I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors, when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together; when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married,” Obama told Roberts in an interview to appear on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday.
Let me be clear. If you voted for Barack Obama, then you voted for a pro-abortion, pro-gay-marriage leftist.
Click here for an explanation of the non-religious reasons why people oppose same-sex marriage.
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