Washington: US President Barack Obama's campaign on Thursday moved quickly to capitalise on his newly-announced support for gay marriage, releasing an Internet video that calls his Republican challenger backward on the highly divisive social issue.
Obama broke from his long-claimed indecision on the issue to express outright support for the right of homosexual couples to marry. He spoke during an ABC television interview yesterday.
This morning, his campaign released an Internet video titled "Mitt Romney: Backwards on Equality”.
It opens with Obama saying same-sex couples should have the right to marry, then shows a clip of Romney saying yesterday that he opposes gay marriage and favours rolling back some rights for same-sex couples.
The video also seeks to portray Romney as out of touch with the majority of Americans, saying even former Republican president George W Bush supported civil unions, a step short of marriage.
Obama aides hope the President's support of gay marriage will energise Democrats, particularly younger voters, though they acknowledge the issue could hurt him with socially conservative independent voters.
Obama's changed stand on gay marriage will, however, find a welcome audience today night in Hollywood. He will speak to the gala event of the political season -- a sold-out, record-setting fundraiser at the home of movie star George Clooney.
The event is a blockbuster confluence of high celebrity, big money and committed activism. Hollywood is home to some of the most high-profile backers of gay marriage, and the dinner is expected to raise nearly USD 15 million, an unprecedented amount for a single event. In a single evening, the Obama camp and the Democratic Party will collect more than Romney has amassed in his best single month of fundraising.
Obama will also hold fundraisers earlier in the day in Seattle, where he was expected to collect at least USD 3 million toward his re-election effort.
Obama's support of gay marriage will find huge support in yet another fundraiser on Monday in New York sponsored by gay and Latino Obama supporters.
"I have hesitated on gay marriage in part because I thought that civil unions would be sufficient," Obama said in yesterday's interview. But he added that now, "it is important for me personally to go ahead and affirm that same-sex couples should be able to get married."
First Published: Thursday, May 10, 2012, 21:32