Obama to gay donors: there's 'more work to do'

WASHINGTON (BP) -- President Obama told a small audience at a gay fundraiser that he's not finished in promoting causes important to the gay community, and he asked for their help in getting re-elected.

 
"We're going to have more work to do on this issue, as is true on a lot of other issues," Obama said at the Feb. 9 fundraiser at a private District of Columbia home. A lesbian couple hosted the event, and about 40 people attended, with around $1.4 million raised for his re-election. "There's still areas where fairness is not the rule. And we're going to have to keep on pushing in the same way -- persistently, politely, listening to folks who don't always agree with us, but sticking to our guns in terms of what our values are all about. What American values are all about."

The event cost $35,800 to attend, according to reports.

Also attending was Secretary of Health & Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and Laura Ricketts, a Chicago Cubs co-owner who is a lesbian.

Regarding gay issues, Obama said he "could not be prouder of the track record" he's accomplished. Among the accomplishments he mentioned was the overturning of the military's prohibition on open homosexuality.

Obama said that when he was at a Marine base in Hawaii, people came up to him on three occasions and thanked him for leading the charge to reverse what was known as Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

Supporters of Don't Ask, Don't Tell warned that reversing the policy would restrict religious freedoms, infringe on privacy, and harm unit cohesion. The impact of the reversal, those supporters say, is still being gauged.

Obama has spoken to gay supporters several times during his presidency, including at least twice in 2011.

Last year he spoke at an event sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay group.

"We can be proud of the progress we've already made," he said then. "And I'm going to continue to fight alongside you."

He added later, "I don't have to tell you, there are those who don't want to just stand in our way but want to turn the clock back, who want to return to the days when gay people couldn't serve their country openly, who reject the progress that we've made, who as we speak, are looking to enshrine discrimination into state laws and constitutions -- efforts that we've got to work hard to oppose, because that's not what America should be about."

Citizens of two states in 2012 -- Minnesota and North Carolina -- will vote on constitutional amendments defining marriage as between a man and a woman. A majority of states (29) have similar amendments.


Compiled by Michael Foust, associate editor of Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter(BaptistPress), Facebook(Facebook.com/Baptist Press) and in your email(baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

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