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Obama to Attend Fla. LGBT Fundraiser

by Michael K. Lavers
National News Editor
Sunday Apr 8, 2012
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President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet with LGBT supporters of his re-election campaign in Hollywood, Fla., on Tuesday.

Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz; DNC National Political Director Jeffrey Lerner; Jaime Citron, national LGBT vote director of the president’s re-election campaign; Obama for America National Finance Director Rufus Gifford and Obama for America Florida State Director Ashley Walker, are slated to brief supporters before the president’s remarks. Obama will then attend a general fundraiser at the Westin Diplomat Hotel.

Tickets start at $2,500 per person.

"This is a unique opportunity for those who can afford to take part in it," said one Obama re-election campaign official during a conference call on April 5. "We all know on this call that Florida is the key to winning the re-election-all roads lead through Florida. And so if we all do our part, we can win this thing. That being said, this is an opportunity to ask your questions.

This fundraiser will come a little more than two months after Obama cited the repeal of the military’s ban on openly gay and lesbian servicemembers as his administration’s most important LGBT-specific accomplishments at a private fundraiser in Washington, D.C., that raised $1.4 million for his re-election campaign. The president also spoke to nearly 700 LGBT supporters in Manhattan on the eve of the passage of New York’s marriage equality bill last June.

Obama has faced increased pressure from a growing number of LGBT activists to publicly endorse marriage for same-sex couples and to issue an executive order that would ban employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and 22 U.S. senators are among those who have backed a proposal that would add nuptials for gays and lesbians to the Democratic Party’s 2012 platform.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker and other Obama supporters are among those who have said they don’t expect the president to endorse marriage equality for same-sex couples before the general election.

Based in Washington, D.C., Michael K. Lavers has appeared in the New York Times, BBC, WNYC, Huffington Post, Village Voice, Advocate and other mainstream and LGBT media outlets. He is an unapologetic political junkie who thoroughly enjoys living inside the Beltway.

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