President Barack Obama promised a roomful of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) activists on Friday that he would be their "fellow advocate" as long as he is in the White House.
Obama, hosting an LGBT Pride Month reception in the mansion's ornate East Room, thanked gay servicemen and —women for their service and alluded to the fitful process that led him to publicly endorse same-sex marriage.
"Americans may be still evolving when it comes to marriage equality," he said to laughter and applause. "But as I've indicated personally, Michelle and I have made up our minds on this issue."
Prior to his historic reversal on the issue, Obama had said he was "evolving" on whether to back same-sex marriage. Aides insisted he had always planned to come out in favor even before Vice President Joe Biden forced his hand.
"We still have a long way to go, but we will get there. We'll get there because of all of you," Obama predicted. "And as long as I have the privilege of being your President, I promise you, you won't just have a friend in the White House, you will have a fellow advocate for an America where no matter what you look like or where you come from or who you love, you can dream big dreams and dream as openly as you want," he promised.