The White House on Thursday scrambled to explain why President Barack Obama had decided against signing a gay protections executive order.

Gay rights supporters had hoped Obama would sign the memo which would ban federal contractors from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

But on Wednesday, senior administration officials said the order, which reportedly had already been approved by the Departments of Labor and Justice, was not forthcoming.

White House spokesperson Jay Carney insisted during a press conference that the president does support such protections but would prefer to see Congress approve the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) sponsored by Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank and Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley.

“We're deeply committed to working with partners in the LGBT community on a number of fronts to build the case for employment non-discrimination policies,” Carney said.

“Is this a political calculation?”

“Absolutely not, the president is committed to securing equal rights for LGBT Americans, and that is why he has long supported ENDA,” Carney answered. “The approach we're taking at this time is try to build support for passage of this legislation, a comprehensive approach, to legislate on the issue of non-discrimination.” (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)