At a gay fundraiser in Manhattan on Thursday, President Barack Obama danced around the issue of gay marriage.

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 Patrick Harris.

“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.