Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday addressed a gathering of LGBT lawyers, telling them that gay rights are a top priority for President Barack Obama and his administration.

“Thanks to the work of tireless advocates, activists, and attorneys in – and far beyond – this room, our nation has made great strides on the road to LGBT equality and the unfinished struggle to secure and protect the civil rights of all Americans. For President Obama, for me, and for our colleagues at every level of the Obama administration, this work has long been a top priority – and I'm pleased to note that it has resulted in meaningful, measurable and enduring change,” Holder told attendees of the 2012 Lavender Law Conference and Career Fair taking place in Washington DC.

Holder described the gay rights successes of the Obama administration, including the repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” and his agency's decision to no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court.

“Beyond these efforts, the Justice Department continues to support – and to fight for – legislative and policy reforms like an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would extend protections to LGBT individuals in all workplaces, and an updated Violence Against Women Act that would ensure that the law’s non-discrimination provisions cover sexual orientation and gender identity. Even in the face of extraordinary budget challenges, we remain determined to use every available resource to build the necessary institutional and legal frameworks to end harassment, violence, and discrimination – and to provide the safeguards that, for LGBT Americans, my fellow citizens, are long overdue.”

“No one understands the importance of creating such an environment – or has advocated more passionately on behalf of the LGBT community – than President Obama. Thanks to his leadership, this administration has made historic strides in adopting inclusive policies and sending a clear message that the federal government is 'open for everyone,' and that it is an employer that accepts and respects every potential employee.”