The event is a blockbuster confluence of high celebrity, big money and committed activism. Hollywood is home to some of the most high-profile backers of gay marriage, and the dinner is expected to raise nearly $15 million —an unprecedented amount for a single event. In a single evening, the Obama camp and the Democratic Party will collect more than Romney has amassed in his best single month of fundraising.
Obama will also hold fundraisers earlier in the day in Seattle, where he was expected to collect at least $3 million toward his re-election effort.
Obama's support of gay marriage will find huge support in yet another fundraiser Monday in New York sponsored by gay and Latino Obama supporters.
"I have hesitated on gay marriage in part because I thought that civil unions would be sufficient," Obama said in Wednesday's interview. But he added that now, "it is important for me personally to go ahead and affirm that same-sex couples should be able to get married."
Obama's support for gay marriage is a huge symbolic step, but it does nothing to change the legal status for gays who wish to wed in states where laws forbid such marriages. Obama emphasized that he still believes the issue should be decided on a state-by-state basis.
A new Associated Press-GfK poll, meanwhile, showed Obama's popularity among women, minorities and independents gave him an early edge over Romney. The poll was conducted before Obama's comments Wednesday.
The nationwide poll found half of registered voters say they would back Obama in November, while 42 percent favor Romney. About a quarter of voters indicated they are persuadable, meaning they are undecided or could change their minds before Election Day.
With the struggling American economy the primary concern of voters, the poll found the public divided over whether Obama or Romney would do a better job on the issue. Forty-six percent prefer Obama, 44 percent prefer Romney.