ABC News’ Rachel Humphries and Kate McCarthy report: Michelle Obama addressed the Gay and Lesbian Leadership Council Gala in New York City Thursday night and renewed her husband’s promise to repeal federal policies that she says limit the rights of gays and lesbians.
"Barack believes that we must fight for a world as it should be. A world where together we work to reverse discriminatory laws like D.O.M.A. (Defense of Marriage Act) and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell," Mrs. Obama said, addressing an audience of 250 people at a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee.
D.O.M.A stipulates that states are not required to recognize same sex marriages, even if the marriages are recognized in another state. The law also states that the federal government define marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman. "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell", as it is commonly called, allows gay men and women to serve in the military but it prevents them from talking about their sexuality openly.
Last week Sen. Obama, D-Ill., told ABC News’ Jake Tapper that while he believes marriage is between a man and a woman, “these are decisions that need to be made at a state and local level.”
Tonight Obama’s wife echoed that sentiment.
"He has said that the federal government should not stand in the way of the states that want to decide for themselves how best to pursue equality for gay and lesbian couples, whether that means a domestic partnership, a civil union, or a civil marriage," she said.
Without mentioning him by name, Mrs. Obama criticized presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. Last week McCain reiterated his support for D.O.M.A.
"I voted for the Defense of Marriage Act, which clearly indicated the unique status of a marriage between man and woman," McCain said in Arlington, VA. "I will continue to support that, I will continue to have my position."
ABC News’ Bret Hovell contributed to this report.