At a gay fundraiser in Manhattan on
Thursday, President Barack Obama danced around the issue of gay
The Democratic National Committee's
sold-out $1,250-a-person Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender Gala
dinner was held at the Midtown Sheraton and hosted by actor Neil
“Ever since I entered into public
life, ever since I have a memory about what my mother taught me, and
my grandparents taught me, I believed that discrimination against
people was wrong. I had no choice. I was born that way,” Obama
told the crowd, referring to Lady Gaga's gay anthem Born This Way.
“I believe that gay couples deserve the same legal rights as every
other couple in this country.”
On the issue of marriage equality,
Obama, who supports civil unions for gay and lesbian couples but has
recently said he's “evolving” on the issue, ignored a heckler
when she asked him about marriage.
“Marriage. Marriage. Marriage,”
the woman yelled.
“I heard you guys. Believe it or
not, I anticipated that somebody might ...” Obama started but was
interrupted by laughter and applause from the audience. He never
answered the question.
As the president addressed the crowd,
lawmakers in Albany were debating a gay marriage bill. Obama said he
supported the right of states to decide the issue: “And right now I
understand there's a little debate going on here in New York about
whether to join five other states and D.C. in allowing civil marriage
for gay couples. And I want to … I want to say that under the
leadership of Governor Cuomo, with the support of Democrats and
Republicans, New York is doing exactly what democracies are supposed
to do. There's a debate; there's deliberation about what it means
here in New York to treat people fairly in the eyes of the law.”
A second opportunity for the president
to “evolve” on gay marriage will come at a Gay Pride reception at
the White House next week.