Gay Marriage Reversal Means Cash For Obama

Wednesday, May 9, 2012 0 comments

President Barack Obama is seen on a monitor in the White House briefing room in Washington, Wednesday, May 9, 2012. President Barack Obama told an ABC interviewer that he supports gay marriage. (AP / Carolyn Kaster)
President Barack Obama’s endorsement of gay marriage carries a political cost, but it also means floods of cash from wealthy gay donors and disillusioned young people eager to be inspired by him again.
After three years of political compromise on issues from health care reform to spending cuts, Obama delivered a surprise gift to what many of his core supporters view as the civil rights issue of the day, simply by saying what everyone assumed he believed. But the distinction between implying a change and saying it outright will more than symbolic in the crucial area of campaign fundraising. Already, gay donors, mostly men, reportedly constitute 1 in 6 of Obama’s top fundraisers known as bundlers. And in the first 90 minutes after the news broke Wednesday, the campaign received $1 million in spontaneous contributions, a Democrat told BuzzFeed.
“This is beyond unifying — it’s electrifying,” said Eugene Sepulveda, a former top bundler who withdrew to take a non-political job early this year. “This man stands for right, despite the political consequences.”
And for a class of disillusioned progressive mega-donors, many of them gay, the completion of Obama’s “evolution” is an invitation reason to return.
“I think the people who were disappointed by the president’s failure to support marriage quality will now have that barrier removed for them,” said Jeff Soref, a longtime Democratic activist in the gay community.
Indeed, top gay donors have been using their expensive access to bend Obama’s ear on the issue for years. Some now feel that their specific pleas have been answered.
“There have been a lot of us urging him to do this for a very long time. I imagine he and Michele felt some pain for us after North Carolina yesterday,” said another longtime gay Obama bundler.
“There are more LGBT co-chairs across the country are raising more money than we’ve ever raised. And you’ll see a lot more of that now,” the bundler said.
Soref said that aside from energizing supporters, Obama’s decision sharpens the choice for the general election.
“There is a contrast between the President and Mitt Romney, and this clarified the contrast, and that will help with fundraising,” he said.
The Obama campaign sees the announcement and the contrast with Romney’s position, as playing into the campaign’s narrative of Obama as the forward-looking candidate and Romney as the one of the past.