President Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage less than 48 hours after the Washington Post reported that prominent political donors were threatening to withhold donations over the president’s position on gay rights.
“[A]t 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 ABC News in an interview.
Left-wing blogger Greg Sargent reported on Monday that “leading gay and progressive donors” were angry with Obama over his increasingly convoluted position on gay rights and same-sex marriage, and were refusing to donate any more money to Priorities USA, the pro-Obama Super PAC. Sargent cited Paul Yandura, a political adviser to prominent Democratic donor Jonathan Lewis, who emailed that:
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.
The Washington Post noted on Tuesday that roughly 20 percent of Obama top campaign bundlers—who are responsible for arranging $500,000 and up—“publicly identified themselves as gay.”
Obama’s announcement fits a pattern of changing positions on major issues for what appear to be financially motivated reasons.
The president in February publicly renounced his opposition to Democratic Super PACs such as Priorities USA, groups capable of raising large amount of money from anonymous sources.
Obama had previously denounced Super PACs as “shadowy groups with harmless sounding names” that pose “a threat to our democracy” because they allow wealthy donors outsized influence on the political process.
Four years ago, Obama became the first presidential candidate in history to reject public campaign financing, despite pledges he would not do so.