President Barack Obama issued his annual Thanksgiving proclamation on Tuesday, and some people say it contains an allusion to gay relationships.
"Thanksgiving offers each of us the chance to count our many blessings – the freedoms we enjoy, the time we spend with loved ones, the brave men and women who defend our Nation at home and abroad. This tradition reminds us that no matter what our background or beliefs, no matter who we are or who we love, at our core we are first and foremost Americans," wrote Obama in the opening words of his 2013 proclamation.
Steven V. Mazie, an associate professor of political studies at Bard High School Early College Manhattan, said in a post on his Praxis blog that the phrase "no matter who we are or who we love" is an "unmistakable endorsement of gay and lesbian relationships."
Mazie also points out that, since the last Thanksgiving Day, the Supreme Court struck down a key section of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and several states legalized gay marriage. Nine states and jurisdictions allowed gay couples to marry as of Thanksgiving 2012, though that number has since risen to 15.
An additional two states – Hawaii and Illinois – also recently legalized same-sex marriage. Hawaii's gay marriage law will take effect on Monday, while Illinois' law will not take effect until June 2014.
A Gallup poll released in July found that a majority (52 percent) of Americans would vote in favor of a law that would make gay marriage legal in all 50 states. The majority of Protestants (58 percent) and people who attend church weekly (73 percent), however, said they would oppose the hypothetical referendum.
In his proclamation, Obama encouraged Americans to "give thanks for all we have received in the past year, express appreciation to those whose lives enrich our own, and share our bounty with others." He also quoted Abraham Lincoln, who encouraged people to plead with God to "heal the wounds of the nation."
"This Thanksgiving Day, let us forge deeper connections with our loved ones," the proclamation states. "Let us extend our gratitude and our compassion. And let us lift each other up and recognize, in the oldest spirit of this tradition, that we rise or fall as one Nation, under God."