President Barack Obama heads to the
West Coast on Wednesday to attend a gay fundraiser in Beverly Hills
which will include a performance by Glee co-star Darren Criss
and the speakers will include talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.
It is the third LGBT-organized
fundraiser for Obama this year. An event organized in April by the
Obama for America LGBT Leadership Council held in Florida raised
$125,000 from 50 supporters. And shortly after he announced his
support for gay marriage, the president attended an event in New York
hosted by singer Ricky Martin, the Futuro Fund and the LGBT
Leadership Council where he raised an estimated $1 million.
More than 600 people are expected to
attend tonight's LGBT Leadership Council Gala. Tickets start at
$1,250 per person.
CNN reported that a significant portion
of Obama's campaign cash is coming from the gay community. The
network reported that LGBT “bundlers” – the men and women who
have pledged to raise money for the president – have raised at
least $8 million for the president in the first quarter of this year.
Richard Socarides, a former adviser on
gay rights to President Bill Clinton, told CBS News that financial
support from the gay community is “substantial.”
“Because people don't identify their
sexual orientation when they give, it's hard to make a mathematical
calculation. But I do think it's fair to say that especially given
the relative softness from some of the other communities that
supported the president in 2008 – I'm thinking specifically of Wall
Street – that I think the president and the Democratic Party in
general is looking to receive substantial backing from donors who are
motivated by gay rights and human rights issues.”
“It's a significant donor group in
the Democratic community,” said Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic
lobbyist and strategist.
After tonight's gala, the president
will attend a fundraiser at the home of Glee creator Ryan
Murphy, who is openly gay.