6:24 pm May. 14, 2012
At an early evening fund-raiser in the Rubin Museum, gay-rights advocates celebrated President Obama's new stance on same-sex marriage.
“We admire his courage, like the courage he showed last week in affirming his belief in marriage equality," said the event's host, Ricky Martin, according to the pool report. "That is the kind of courage we expect from our president and that is why we support him."
But it's not clear anyone was expecting the president to be a declared supporter of same-sex marriage when the event was first announced three weeks ago, when Obama was still "evolving" on the issue.
While the timing appears to have been accidental, it has given Obama's visit to New York the feel of a victory tour. He was cheered effusively by Barnard graduates earlier in the day, and again in Chelsea whenever he mentioned his administration's stance on LGBT issues.
"I want everyone treated fairly in this country," he told the crowd. "We have never gone wrong when we've extended rights and responsibilities to everybody. That doesn't weaken families, that strengthens families."
The president also drew applause when he mentioned his adminstration's push to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriages and was signed by President Clinton.
Obama was asked about DOMA in an interview on "The View" that will air tomorrow, according to a preview of the broadcast.
“We don’t think the Defense of Marriage Act is constitutional,” he told Barbara Walters.
At the Rubin, Obama recognized a few attendees, including New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who he recently appointed to head a joint task force on the mortgage crisis. (The two spoke briefly, according to a source in attendance, and Obama said they should talk more soon.)
The president closed by trying to convince New Yorkers how difficult his re-election is likely to be.
"This is going to be a tough election," he told the crowd. "Sometimes when I come to New York, people say, 'I don't know anybody who's not supporting you, Barack.'
"I say, 'You live in Manhattan, man.'"