The White House on Tuesday announced its support for a federal bill that seeks nationwide LGBT protections.

Introduced by Democrats in July, the Equality Act seeks to prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination in seven key areas, including credit, education, employment, federal funding, housing, jury service and public accommodations, by effectively expanding the Civil Rights Act, originally approved in 1964.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that the administration had been reviewing the bill “for several weeks.”

“Upon that review it is now clear that the administration strongly supports the Equality Act,” Earnest said. “That bill is historic legislation that would advance the cause of equality for millions of Americans.”

“We look forward to working with Congress to ensure that the legislative process produces a result that balances both the bedrock principles of civil rights … with the religious liberty that we hold dear in this country,” he added.

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, applauded the move.

“By endorsing the Equality Act, the White House sent a strong message that it's time to put the politics of discrimination behind us once and for all,” Griffin said in a statement. “Now it's time for Congress to act. Everyone should be able to live free from fear of discrimination and have a fair chance to earn a living and provide for their families, including people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.”

The endorsement came on the same day that Obama was named Out's “Ally of the Year,” making him the first sitting U.S. president to appear on the cover of an LGBT title.

(Related: Out names Obama its 'Ally of the Year.')