Senate Dems Use Obama’s Gay Marriage Stand to Woo Donors

Photograph by David Handschuh/Pool

At the Manhattan City Clerk's office in New York.

No sooner did President Obama endorse same-sex marriage than Senate Democrats sent out a fundraising e-mail cheering him on and asking for donations.

“Polls show that the public is on our side,” wrote Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. The Empire State recently voted to allow same-sex marriage.

“President Obama is too. But you can be sure there are some who will attack him for taking this stance. We must keep up the fight. Marriage equality depends on it.”

Democrats hold a 53-47 edge in the Senate, thanks to two independents who caucus with them, though are defending 23 seats to 10 for the Republicans in November. The primary defeat Tuesday of Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, who otherwise would have been a shoo-in for re-election, gives the Democrats a chance to pick up a Republican-held seat with their nominee, Representative Joe Donnelly.

The Senate Democrats’ fundraising arm has raised $59.7 million through March 31 and had $23.7 million in the bank. The National Republican Senatorial Committee had taken in $56.3 million and had $19.6 million to spend.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California also weighed in on behalf of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

“Obama joins many of us who have long-supported marriage equality because of what it tells our country — and the entire world — that all of America’s families deserve the benefits of equal protection under the law,” she wrote.

“At this historic moment, we must show that the American people support extending the rights and responsibilities of marriage to LGBT citizens.”

While not asking for money, she did ask supporters to add their emails and zip codes (names optional) to a petition supporting Obama’s position. That will give the DCCC and Democratic candidates access to potential donors and voters in the coming weeks ahead.

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