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Obama shift on gay marriage unleashes Hollywood's star power (+video)

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He went on to say that Obama “has also been an exceptionally strong advocate for the Latino and LGBT communities, leading us to precedent-setting milestones such as the appointment of the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice. … I believe the president has put the United States back on the right path and has earned the opportunity to finish the critical work that he has started."

While it is easy to scoff at celebrities-as-politicos, it’s important not to underestimate their reach, says Rich Ferraro, a spokesman for the gay rights advocacy group, GLAAD. “They are influencers of the larger culture,” he says, “and when popular entertainers support an issue or a candidate, their   exposure matters.”

He points to the explosion of celebrity tweets all over Twitter in support of Obama’s newly stated stance on gay marriage. People from Russell Simmons to Alec Baldwin are speaking their minds, says Mr. Ferraro. “This also means that when someone like Russell Simmons speaks out, his comments get picked up not just on the mainstream media, but in black media and entertainment media as well.”

The Thursday night fundraiser is slated for the Fryman Canyon home of actor George Clooney in Studio City, where A-list actors and executives such as Robert Downey Jr. and Jeffrey Katzenberg will mingle with the other 150 or so luminaries who forked over the $40,000 price of entry.

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