President Barack Obama's Thanksgiving proclamation released Tuesday included a reference to gay men and lesbians.

“Thanksgiving offers each of us the chance to count our many blessings – the freedoms we enjoy, the time we spend with loved one, the brave men and women who defend our Nation at home and abroad,” Obama wrote in the opening of his 2013 proclamation. “This tradition reminds us that no matter what our background or beliefs, no matter who we are or who we love, at our core we are first and foremost Americans.”

Obama has frequently used the phrase “who we love” to reference gays and lesbians.

Obama also encouraged Americans to “give thanks for all we have received in the past year, express appreciation to those whose lives enrich our own, and share our bounty with others.”

“This Thanksgiving Day, let us forge deeper connections with our loved ones. Let us extend our gratitude and our compassion. And let us lift each other up and recognize, in the oldest spirit of this tradition, that we rise or fall as one Nation, under God.”