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A fundraising boost from same-sex marriage

A supporter of U.S. President Barack Obama holds a placard near a private residence where Obama was attending a campaign fundraiser in Seattle. 

Kai Ryssdal: President Obama was in New York City today. He did the commencement address at Barnard College. He taped an appearance with the ladies of "The View"on ABC, and tonight he's at a fundraiser hosted by singer Ricky Martin, co-sponsored by the LGBT Leadership Council, that's a pro-gay rights group. The big donor gathering is another chance for the president to talk about his announcement last week that he personally suports gay marriage and in the process reap the campaign finance rewards.

Marketplace's Nancy Marshall Genzer reports.


Nancy Marshall Genzer: Tonight's event was President Obama's first fundraiser with gay and lesbian donors since his announcement on same-sex marriage. Turns out some of the president's biggest fundraisers, or bundlers, are gay. They're now fired up. And will approach the president's major donors with new energy, according to Paul Light, a campaign finance expert who teaches public service at NYU.

Paul Light: That does open some wallets and makes the bundlers happier and it's going to be easier to hit on the big givers.

The Obama campaign isn't releasing official figures on how much it's raised since the president's announcement on gay marriage. But there are anecdotal signs of an uptick.

Robert Zimmerman is an Obama bundler in New York. He says newly enthusiastic gay donors jammed his phone lines after Obama's announcement until one in the morning.

Robert Zimmerman: They were out there, not just writing their own checks, they were stepping up to call their friends and were looking to go to a swing state to knock on doors.

Obama fundraisers hosted by the gay community are becoming sellouts. One scheduled for next month in Beverly Hills might be moved necause now, there isn't enough space.

Joe Solmonese heads the Human Rights Campaign.

Joe Solmonese: I guess it was probably sold out in the previous venue and now they're moving to a big one and I can't imagine it wouldn't be sold out. That's going to be a pretty exciting moment.

And Solmonese will be there. He's already shelled out $2,500. The highest-priced tickets? $25,000 per couple.

In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.

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