Obama Pledges to Push 'Gay' Agenda; Vows to Push for 'Gays' in Military

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama, under fire from the gay-rights community over slow action on its priorities, promised to deliver by the time he leaves office. [Barack Obama] Barack Obama

The president gave no new details about how he would advance these issues, but he made passionate remarks saluting the pioneers of the gay-rights movement and expressed solidarity with those working for equal rights.

"Welcome to your White House," the president said at a reception Monday to mark the 40th anniversary of the birth of the modern gay-rights movement. His remarks were greeted warmly by a cheering crowd of some 250 gay and lesbian activists and supporters.

As a presidential candidate, Mr. Obama vowed to overturn the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which prohibits openly gay men and women from serving, and to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, which allows states to ignore same-sex marriages performed in other states and bars the federal government from granting marriage benefits to people in same-sex unions.

The Obama administration has said it will take congressional action to address both issues. But, aware of both the complex politics involved and its full agenda, the White House has done little so far to prod lawmakers along.

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