The 61st annual National Prayer Breakfast took place at the Hilton Washington International Ballroom in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, but not without questions of whether President Obama would use the platform to push gay rights.
Speculation surrounding the president's possible reference to his support of same-sex marriage in his speech were seen on various social media platforms as well as morning news shows. As the panel members of CNN's "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien" awaited President Obama's speech, they questioned if it was necessary for the president to address the issue of gay rights. One commentator questioned if the breakfast was the right time or place for Obama to delve into the controversy surrounding the topic. Another questioned if the president's remarks on the issue would take away from the original intent of the breakfast.
The panelists on CNN were not the only people talking about the issue this morning, but Huffington Post political commentator Abby Huntsman tweeted, "Pres. Obama about to speak @National Prayer Breakfast in D.C. Will he address gay marriage? #questionofthemorning"
Louise Armistead of the Daily Telegraph in London tweeted, "US Prayer B'fast about to get underway in Washington. Pressure on Obama to use speech to follow UK gay marriage."
Get Equal, an organization that seeks to empower the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community, released a statement this morning on its website asking President Obama not to attend the event that supports "anti-LGBT" legislation.
To the surprise of many, however, President Obama's remarks omitted any political reference, including about the gay community. Instead, Obama called on leaders to have open hearts and minds, seek common ground and remain humble in the face of opposition.
The prayer breakfast is a tradition started by President Eisenhower that gathers political and religious leaders to pray for America. This morning's breakfast was organized by The Fellowship Foundation, a nonprofit religious organization, and was attended by President Obama, Vice President Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama and 3,000 guests.