Activists: DOMA change should open wallets

March 1, 2011 at 10:10 AM
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WASHINGTON, March 1 (UPI) -- Deciding not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act improved U.S. President Obama's standing in the gay community going into the 2012 elections, observers say.

The decision clears the way for Obama and Democrats to raise funds aggressively in the gay-lesbian-bisexual-transsexual community, Politico reported Tuesday.

"Folks in our affiliates around the country were grumbling about the pace of 'don't ask, don't tell' repeal and other things, but since the announcement that's really changed," said Michael Mitchell of the National Stonewall Democrats, a network of gay and lesbian Democratic groups. "I think it will be a game-changer both with our organizers and also with the LGBT community at large."

"The mood has gotten a lot better," said Democratic National Committee Treasurer Andrew Tobias, who is gay and is a party leader in the LGBT community. "More and more people are recognizing that we've made some very real gains and have a president and a party eager to make some more very real gains."

While checkbooks have opened, some gay activists said they were reserving judgment, Politico reported.

"Talk to me in a year," said John Aravosis, a widely read gay blogger who helped organize a donation boycott of Democrats in November 2009. Aravosis said he's pleased with the administration's decision not to defend DOMA because it believes the law is unconstitutional, but remains skeptical.

"It's a significant, significant change on DOMA," he said. "I think it's too early to say for the election. It's going to take some time before he's turned this thing around."

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