Michelle Obama's comments at a fundraiser in New York were not meant to imply that she, the president or his two Supreme Court nominees support gay marriage, the White House has said.

Mrs. Obama referenced the effect recent Supreme Court appointees would have on “whether we can … love whomever we choose” at multiple campaign events for her husband's reelection on Monday.

“[L]et us not forget about what it meant when my husband appointed those two magnificent Supreme Court justices. And for the first time in history, our daughters and sons watched three women take their seat on our nation's highest court,” she told a crowd of about 85 supporters at an event hosted by actor Robert de Niro and wife Grace Hightower.

“And let us not forget what their decisions – the impact those decisions will have on our lives for decades to come – on our privacy and security, on whether we can speak freely, worship openly, and yes, love whomever we choose.”

White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday that Mrs. Obama was referencing “the president's position on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).” Obama last year instructed the Department of Justice to stop defending in court the law, which bars federal agencies from recognizing the legal marriages of gay couples.

According to POLITICO.com, a spokeswoman for the first lady said in an email: “That line in the First Lady's remarks has been in her campaign speeches since last summer and refers to the importance of the Supreme Court for deciding many issues. The President and First Lady firmly believe that gay and lesbian Americans and their families deserve legal protections and the ability to thrive just like any other family.”

“The First Lady has said she is proud of the President's accomplishments for gay and lesbian Americans on a range of issues, including repealing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' ensuring hospital visitation rights and calling for the repeal of DOMA.”