Obama Thanks LGBTs for Making America 'More Just and More Compassionate'

By Susan Jones | June 18, 2014 | 10:04 AM EDT

The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel flies the LGBT "rainbow" flag under the American flag to mark LGBT Pride Week on June 10, 2014. (Photo from U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro's Facebook post)

(CNSNews.com) - Shortly after toasting newlywed same-sex couples in the audience Tuesday night, President Obama thanked a gathering of LGBT donors in New York "for helping make America more just and more compassionate."

He called it "remarkable" that Americans of all ages increasingly are "embracing marriage equality."

"They understand love is love," Obama said. "And for many people whose minds have changed, it was love that did it -- love for the child or the grandchild or the friend or the co-worker who sat down one day and held their hands and took a deep breath and said, 'I'm gay.'

"Almost everybody in this room was that child or grandchild or friend or co-worker at some point. And you may not have know it at the time -- it may have seemed like an individual act - but in those moments when you summoned that courage and reached out with that hopeful love -- you were doing it for everybody.

"And that's why I'm here tonight -- to say thank you for helping to make American more just and more compassionate."

Obama also thanked the donors for the support they've given his administration over the years. "Because of your help, we've been able to do more to protect the rights of lesbian, gay and bisexual and transgender Americans than any administration in history."

After listing all he's done for the LGBT community -- allowing gays to openly serve in the military, refusing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court, and bullying prevention were among the items he listed -- Obama warned against complacency, saying progress has to be defended.

He urged the LGBT community to "keep fighting" for people around the world "who live under governments that have made the existence of anybody who's LGBT illegal. We need to send a message to those folks. I want them to hear from the President of the United States. We believe in your dignity and your equality and the United States stands with you."

Last week, the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv flew the LGBT "rainbow" flag right under the American flag to mark LGBT Pride Week.

"For the first time in history, the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv has raised the Pride flag together with our American flag. We are proud to join with the municipality of Tel Aviv-Yafo and its residents in celebrating LGBT Pride Week," U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro said on his Facebook page.d

What happened in Tel Aviv apparently is not unprecedented: According to Breitbart, Spanish papers reported that the rainbow flag flew over the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, Spain for one day last month, to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.