(Photo: REUTERS/Jason Reed)
President Barack Obama called on Americans to celebrate evolving attitudes toward the homosexual community as he proclaimed June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month.
"This June, let's take some time to celebrate teachers and students who take a stand against bullying, openly gay and lesbian servicemembers, ... families and friends who have seen their own attitudes evolve," he urged.
Obama made the proclamation Friday and expressed again his evolved personal belief in "marriage equality for same-sex couples" "because we must treat others the way we want to be treated."
He cited the Golden Rule when he first revealed on May 9 that he now believes gay and lesbian couples should be able to get married.
Pointing to his and his wife Michelle's Christian faith, he told ABC News at the time, "[W]hen we think about our faith the thing at root that we think about is not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf but it's also the golden rule – treat others the way you'd want to be treated."
His proclamation for LGBT Pride Month comes just after a group of African-American pastors requested a meeting with Obama to discuss their concerns over his "endorsement of gay marriage as a civil right."
The Coalition of African American Pastors says they're disappointed and heart-broken over the president's new stance.
Obama has declared June as LGBT Pride Month every year since taking office in 2009. Considered the most pro-gay president in history, Obama has repealed the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in the military to allow gays to serve openly, stopped defending the Defense of Marriage Act in court, and after many years of "evolving" expressed support for same-sex marriage, among other things.
"I've often said that the true genius of America is that America can change. We can pass laws to right wrongs; we can soften hardened attitudes," he said in a video posted Friday on the White House website.
Celebrating "unsung heroes" in the LGBT movement, Obama stated, "Bit by bit, step by step they bent the arc of the moral universe towards justice. Now it's our turn."
The president vowed to continue to "advance the rights of LGBT Americans" and called on Americans to "eliminate prejudice" and "celebrate the great diversity of the American people."
According to a USA Today/Gallup poll released last month, 26 percent of Americans are less likely to vote for Obama this November over his support of gay marriage; only 13 percent are more likely to vote for him.