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Same-Sex Marriage Plays Well in Hollywood

James Hirsen By Tuesday, 15 May 2012 10:22 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

“Obviously yesterday we made some news,” President Obama told a captivated audience of Hollywood A-listers who were assembled at a recent fundraising event held at the home of George Clooney.

The president was referring to the statement he had made on same-sex marriage, which he and his campaign strategists had designed to inject energy and enthusiasm into the Democrat base in general, and the Hollywood community in particular.

Writer/producer Norman Lear announced that he and his wife would each write checks for $40,000 to Obama's re-election campaign.
(Getty Images)
A few months ago, not only did members of the entertainment community appear to have cooled to Obama, some celebrities were openly voicing their displeasure.

Actor Matt Damon, who had supported the president’s 2008 campaign, said at the end of last year that Obama had “misinterpreted his mandate.”

Sean “Diddy” Combs told Source magazine, “I just want the president to do better.”

In 2008, Black-Eyed Peas rapper-singer William James Adams, Jr., better known by his stage name “will.i.am,” created a video that went viral entitled “Yes We Can.” The video ended with the word “HOPE.” However, by December 2011 he was singing a different tune. He said, in reference to Obama, “I don't want to hope anymore.”

Evidently, the carefully crafted words from the president have made a world of difference in Hollywood circles.

Andy Spahn, a political adviser to entertainment mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, told the Associated Press that the president’s newly enunciated position on marriage “will certainly add to the enthusiasm behind the president's campaign. It translates into more energy.”

Chad Griffin, a former political adviser in Hollywood and gay rights leader, is now a member of Obama's National Finance Committee. Griffin said that as a result of Obama’s televised remarks the crowds at upcoming fundraisers “will be more energized, more enthusiastic.”

Energy and enthusiasm can turn into huge campaign dollars. In fact, the president’s “evolving” views have loosened up potential donors who had previously vowed to stay on the sidelines.

Television producer and activist Norman Lear, who earlier had withheld his support for Obama’s re-election, announced on the day of the president’s televised remarks that he and his wife would immediately write checks for $40,000 each.

Academy Award-winning screenwriter Lance Black wrote a column in the Hollywood Reporter in April 2012, indicating that he would not give donations to, or vote for, Obama. After hearing Obama’s enunciation, though, Black told the AP, “Now I can do all I can to help him financially. I am going to go big, and I'm not alone there.”

“He [Obama] blew me away. I walked around for the first time in three years thinking, `Yes we can,’” Black added.

Openly gay singer Ricky Martin is hosting a New York fundraiser on May 14.

“I believe Barack Obama has shown a deep conviction to help those most in need, even if their voices are not always the ones heard the loudest in Washington,” Martin said in a statement quoted on the Broadway World website.

Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage prompted “Glee” co-creator Ryan Murphy, who is also co-creator of FX’s “American Horror Story,” to hold a dinner at his home on the same evening of a June 6 concert to be held for the gay and lesbian community. Pink is one of the scheduled performers, and according to organizers, tickets will range from $1,250 to $25,000.

Murphy and David Miller, Murphy’s fiancé, are slated to co-host the dinner that is expected to bring together entertainment industry supporters willing to pay $40,000 per couple, or $25,000 for those attending on their own. Guests will have the opportunity to be named additional co-hosts by pledging to raise $250,000 for the Obama campaign.

Perfectly synched with Obama’s newfound position, fundraising appeals were sent out by the White House and the Democratic House and Senate campaign committees, following the media coverage of the president’s remarks.

The Democratic National Committee instantaneously modified the landing page of its website to feature a slogan that read: “Same-sex couples should be able to get married. Stand up with the president.”

The president sent out mass e-mails to supporters, informing them of his decision to “affirm my personal belief that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.”

The messages ended with the words, “Please donate today.”

James Hirsen, J.D., M.A., in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, media analyst, and law professor. Visit Newsmax.TV Hollywood. Read more reports from James Hirsen — Click Here Now.

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Tuesday, 15 May 2012 10:22 AM
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