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Will The Gay Community Stand Behind Obama?

(CBS)
The gay community may turn its back on President Obama and the Democratic party if the president does not begin to follow through on some of his campaign promises to extend gay rights, some gay activists say.

"The community is at the point now where they feel like the Democratic party has turned their back on them, as if gays are some kind of political pariah," John Aravosis, a gay activist and blogger, said today on on CBSNews.com's daily politics Web show Washington Unplugged.

Mr. Obama on Wednesday signed a presidential memorandum granting some federal employee benefits to same-sex partners of federal workers. Aravosis said it was a "nice step," but did not resolve any of the issues the gay community cares about. Some are becoming increasingly worried, he said, about whether the president will actually address those issues, by urging Congress to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) or allowing gays to openly serve in the military.

Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), one of three openly gay members of Congress, said on Washington Unplugged that those particular issues are "becoming even more critical as more and more states allow same-sex couples to marry."

He also said the president has not yet done enough for the gay community.

"I think the president can and should do more and use some political capital to show some moral leadership," Polis said.

Upon signing the memorandum, Mr. Obama said, "I believe (DOMA)'s discriminatory, I think it interferes with states' rights, and we will work with Congress to overturn it."

Still, "What he did last night is reiterated his campaign position, but he no longer is promising to act to do it," Aravosis said.

Aravosis has called for a boycott of a fundraiser tonight for the Democratic Congressional and Senatorial Committees. He said gay rights may have to "punish" the Democratic party in order to move forward its agenda.

"Our people tend to have a lot of money, (and) we vote 70 percent Democrat," Aravosis said, explaining the political weight behind the gay community.

Watch the full show below, which includes both complete interviews and video from a rally in New York in support of the protests going on right now in Iran:

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