The Obama Administration's success with starting "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal, its recent decision to no longer defend Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act and "smaller steps, like gay partner hospital visits and hate crimes legislation, concrete and important gestures that simply weren’t made during the Bush administration" have reversed gay and lesbian voter disillusionment with the President, writes Politico's Ben Smith and Maggie Haberman.
These policy actions, along with a re-election fundraising machine that includes more than a dozen key gay appointees, has set the stage for gays to become a fundraising "anchor" as the campaign loses support from "alienated and disappointed" progressive constituencies.
[Strategists] say that Republican candidates’ shots at gay rights in their attempt to appeal to socially conservative Iowa voters had reminded gay donors of the stakes. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum this week said gays and lesbians shouldn’t have the “privilege” of adopting children, while former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty suggested he would block the repeal of the ban on gays in the military, and Donald Trump compared same-sex marriage to faddish golf gear.
"Our community has tasted change, and it’s hard to conceive of going backward," said Fred Sainz, the vice president for communications for the Human Rights Campaign, the largest gay rights group. “It’s hard to conceive of that coming to a screeching halt or reversing — and so it’s a subject of great energy for members of my community and especially those with great resources.”
"Any reservations that a significant number of donors might sit this out have been answered by Donald Trump and the fools in the Republican Party," said [David] Mixner. "They have become so vehemently anti-gay."
"Gay donors, though, have only intensified their support," adds Politico. "And are expected to participate in unprecedented numbers in a 'LGBT Gala' DNC fundraiser scheduled for June 23 in New York."
The current political climate represents a 180 degree shift from two years ago. That was when a number of prominent gay and lesbian supporters of the President backed out of the Democratic Party's LGBT Gala fundraiser due to the Justice Department's inflammatory motion to dismiss a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act.