Gay Rights Money Increasingly Important

Supporters of same-sex marriage becoming valuable source for campaign cash.

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Gay rights groups are increasingly an important source of campaign money.

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 It's been a busy few months for gay marriage interests of late, and their political fundraising numbers reflect that. Though gay and lesbian rights groups have long backed Democratic candidates, the movement's political clout may be increasing on both sides of the aisle.

Hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer plans to create a Super PAC aimed at supporting gay rights within the Republican Party, already promising $1 million to the group, he told the New York Times' Frank Bruni. Singer is a big-time conservative fundraiser who has raised millions for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign and has already given $1 million to Romney's Super PAC "Restore Our Future." Singer is also a donor to GOProud, a gay conservative PAC which has raised more than $300,000 this year. Another pro-gay conservative group, Log Cabin Republicans, has spent about $20,000 supporting Republican candidates this year, according to to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Despite the gay community's increasing fundraising presence, Romney remains opposed to same-sex marriage. Last month, the campaign's foreign policy spokesman, Ric Grenell, who is openly gay, resigned amid pressure from conservative groups.

[Conservative Radio Host High-Fives Romney Campaign for Canning Gay Adviser]

On the left, the money from gay and lesbian interests, or those who support them, started coming in when President Obama announced his support for gay marriage on national television last month. Within 90 minutes of the announcement, the Obama campaign reportedly received $1 million in spontaneous donations. Two days later, Obama attended a Hollywood fundraiser at George Clooney's home, where the president touted the announcement and raised $15 million by the night's end. At fundraisers in California last week, including one headlined by Ellen Degeneres, Obama restated his support for gay marriage as well as the recent repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy on gays in the military.

[Read: What $40,000 Gets You in Presidential Fund-raising]

In addition, at least 27 members of the gay and lesbian community have raised more than $500,000 for the president's re-election efforts, totaling at least $7.85 million, according to CRP. Campaign money to the president from gay interest groups is also outpacing 2008 totals, and the president is by far the biggest receipient of cash from gay and lesbian groups this year.

Seth Cline is a reporter for US News and World Report. You can contact him at scline@usnews.com or follow him on Twitter.