- (Photo: White House/Chuck Kennedy)
President Barack Obama marked LGBT Pride Month on Friday with a White House reception and told gay supporters that they have "every right to push, loudly and forcefully, for equality."
"I've said before that I would never counsel patience; that it wasn't right to tell you to be patient any more than it was right for others to tell women to be patient a century ago, or African-Americans to be patient a half century ago," he said at the reception involving community leaders, students, politicians and servicemen and women.
It's been over a month now since Obama made the historic announcement that he and his wife now support same-sex couples getting married.
He reiterated his support for gay marriage on Friday.
"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," he stressed.
"So we still have a long way to go, but we will get there. We'll get there because of all of you."
Obama listed numerous pro-gay actions his administration has taken over the last three years. They include the Matthew Shepard Act, health insurance reform that would allow gay or lesbian partners to visit their loved one in the hospital, ending support for the federal Defense of Marriage Act, and the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," among others.
Further appealing to gay supporters, Obama expressed his commitment to get the Employment Non-Discrimination Act passed.
"Congress needs to pass that legislation, so that no American is ever fired simply for being gay or transgender," he said.
Religious organizations have expressed their opposition to ENDA.
Craig Parshall, senior vice president of the National Religious Broadcasters Association, testified at a hearing earlier this week, "ENDA would impose a stunningly heavy constitutional burden on religious organizations and would interfere with their ability to pursue their mission."
"Creating meaningful exemptions for religious organizations so that intrusive government regulations don't collide with their First Amendment liberties is not a legislative prerogative, it is a constitutional mandate," he said before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
Obama has declared June LGBT Pride Month every year since taking office.