'You have every reason and right to push loudly and forcefully for equality'
President Barack Obama talked about his ‘evolution’ in gay marriage and called for the US Congress to pass a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act at an LGBT Pride Month reception he hosted at The White House today (15 June).
Obama, who last month became the first sitting president in US history to publicly support gay marriage, touched on his landmark endorsement during his remarks to guests in The East Room.
‘Americans may be still evolving when it comes to marriage equality but as I’ve indicated, personally Michelle and I have made up our minds on this issue,’ Ohama said to applause.
He added: ‘As long as I have the privilege of being the president, I promise you, you won’t just have a friend in the White House, you’ll have a fellow advocate.’
Obama used the occasion to tout some of the LGBT achievements of his administration including repealing the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.
‘I know we’ve got some military members who are here today,’ he said to applause. ‘I’m happy to see you with your partners here. We thank you for your service. We thank your families for their service, and we share your joy at being able to come with your spouses or partners here to the White House with your Commander-in-Chief.’
Obama called on Congress to pass a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a proposed bill in the Congress that would prohibit discrimination in hiring and employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity by civilian, nonreligious employers with at least 15 employees.
‘You have every reason and right to push loudly and forcefully for equality,’ Obama said. ‘But three years ago I also promised you … we would see progress … we would see real and lasting change. And that’s what we’re witnessing.’