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Obama promotes gay rights advances at LGBT fundraiser in New York

Tuesday, June 17, 2014
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President Barack Obama speaks at the Democratic National Committee's (DNC) annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) fundraiser gala in Gotham Hall, Tuesday, June 17, 2014, in New York. Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AP

President Barack Obama speaks at the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) annual LGBT fundraiser gala in Gotham Hall, Tuesday, June 17, 2014, in New York.

NEW YORK — To a raucous embrace, President Barack Obama told gay donors Tuesday that American society and its laws have advanced the cause of gay rights over the past 10 years, but said the job was hardly over in the United States and especially abroad.

He received a loud standing ovation when he declared that he had directed the White House to prepare an executive order barring discrimination by federal contractors on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The White House announced the initiative Monday, a long-sought measure in the gay community that Obama initially had resisted.

“It’s not just laws that are changing, it’s hearts and minds,” he said at a Democratic National Committee fundraising dinner for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender donors.

Obama was courting high-dollar Democratic contributors in New York, also headlining an event for a super PAC like the ones he once decried and appearing at a dinner at the home of Vogue editor Anna Wintour.

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Obama’s attendance at the three fundraisers underscores his popularity as a draw for big donors and his utility in an election year building up the treasuries of the Democratic Party. Earlier Tuesday, Obama was in Pittsburgh promoting his economic policies and drawing contrasts with congressional Republicans, another midterm presidential task aimed at helping Democrats.

The dinner and the fundraiser for the Senate Majority PAC were closed to the media. The news media was permitted to cover Obama’s remarks to the Democratic National Committee’s gala for LGBT donors, the centerpiece event of the evening.

The dinner at New York’s Gotham Hall came on the same day that the Senate approved two openly gay Obama nominees for federal judgeships.

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