Obama Campaign Launches LGBT Voter Initiative

Get-out-the-gay-vote effort focuses on swing states

The Obama reelection campaign announced the launch of Obama Pride: LGBT Americans for Obama in a conference call with reporters Wednesday, outlining the president’s methods for winning the gay vote, especially in swing states.

LGBT voters “cannot afford to sit on the sidelines in this election,” said Jamie Citron, Obama For America National LGBT Vote Director.

The initiative will focus on recruiting volunteers and registering voters in a block-by-block, neighborhood-by-neighborhood offense, with messaging centered on the Obama Administration’s accomplishments in furthering LGBT equality. Obama Pride will also integrate core constituencies, like LGBT people, women and minorities, into the main campaign efforts. The drive, while national in scope, concentrates on swing states like Pennsylvania, Nevada, Colorado and Florida.

Campaign officials hope that the president’s string of legislative successes and executive decisions advancing LGBT equality resonate with voters, and they are quick to contrast that record with presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s lack of concern for LGBT issues.

Joe Solmonese, OFA National Co-Chair and outgoing president of the Human Rights Campaign, the country’s largest LGBT lobbying group, itemized the administration’s victories. They include signing the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law, ending the travel ban for HIV-positive individuals, recording an “It Gets Better” message and holding the first White House conference on bullying prevention in schools, repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” ensuring hospital visitation rights for LGBT patients, and announcing his personal support for marriage equality.

In contrast, Romney’s support of DOMA and for a Federal Marriage Amendment to the Constitution banning marriage equality paint him as hopelessly out of touch with reality. Repeal of DOMA and the passage of an Employment Non-Discrimination Act that includes gender identity will be Obama’s LGBT priorities for his second term, Solmonese said.

Obama Pride will bring voters into the fold by zeroing in on “what pulls us together, not what pulls us apart,” Solmonese added.

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