Washington: In a sharp rebuke of his
Republican rivals, President Barack Obama has said that anyone
who wants to be commander in chief must support the entire US
military, including gay service members.
A combative Obama criticised Republican presidential
candidates for staying silent when the crowd at a recent
debate booed a gay soldier who asked a question of the
contenders via videotape.
"You want to be commander in chief? Start with standing
up for the men and women who wear the uniform," Obama said during remarks at the annual dinner of the Human Rights
Council, the nation`s largest gay rights organisation.
Obama touted his administration`s efforts to repeal the
military`s ban on openly gay service members, as well as his
orders to the Justice Department to stop enforcing a law
defining marriage as between one man and one woman.
But, as expected, Obama stopped short of endorsing gay
marriage, saying only that "every single American deserves to
be treated equally in the eyes of the law."
Obama has said his views on gay marriage are "evolving,"
but for now he only supports civil union.
Obama`s position on gay marriage has become a sore point
for some gay activists who say they`re otherwise pleased with
the president`s handling of issues important to them.
the president`s backers say he could be wasting a chance to
energise key segments of his base, including young people, if
he doesn`t publicly advocate for gay marriage.