Big Money Backs Clinton on Gay Marriage

by Andrew Stiles

Former secretary of state and potential 2016 presidential contender Hillary Clinton announced her support for gay marriage on Monday in a video posted online by the Human Rights Campaign, one of the Democratic party’s most prolific campaign donors over the years. 

The Human Rights Campaign has contributed more than $10 million to Democrats since 1990, and has spent more than $21 million on lobbying since 1998, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which describes the group as a “heavy hitter” in federal elections. HRC (the organization) has donated at least $16,805 to President Obama since 2008, and at least $14,125 to Clinton, a former U.S. senator, since 2006. Clinton opposed gay marriage as a presidential candidate in 2008, but said she favored civil unions as an alternative.

Obama’s heavily publicized change of heart on the issue in May 2012 took place less than 48 hours after the Washington Post published a report on prominent liberal donors threatening to withhold financial support because of the president’s nominal opposition to gay marriage. Left-wing blogger Greg Sargent had also noted that a number of gay and progressive donors were reconsidering large donations to Priorities USA, a top Obama super PAC.

According to the Post, about one-sixth of Obama’s top campaign bundlers — those who had raised at least $500,000 — “publicly identify themselves as gay.” Jon Cooper, who bundled between $250,000 and $500,000 for the president’s reelection campaign, told Capital New York that Obama’s flip-flop on gay marriage would make fundraising “immeasurably easier.”

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