US President hails New York gay marriage law

Barack Obama refused to say whether the time had come for a nationwide policy allowing gay marriage.

Washington: US President Barack Obama has said he was pleased with the outcome of a ``contentious and emotional`` legislative battle in New York that ended with the state passing a gay marriage law.

But just days after New York became the latest -- and largest -- US state to legalise same-sex marriage, the US leader said he was "not going to make news" by expressing his views on whether the time had come for a nationwide policy allowing matrimony between homosexuals.

"What I have seen happen over the last several years, and what happened in New York last week, I think was a good thing," Obama told a White House press conference.

"It was contentious and emotional, but ultimately they made a decision to recognise civil marriages. I think that`s exactly how things should work," Obama said, defending his record on civil rights for gay Americans which some activist in that community have said has not gone far enough.

"This administration under my direction has consistently said we cannot discriminate as a country on the basis of people of different sexual orientation," the President said.

"We have done more in the two-and-a-half years that I have been in here than the previous 43 presidents," said Obama, rattling off some gays rights achievements made during his administration, including "making sure gay and lesbian partners can visit each other in hospitals, and making sure federal benefits can be provided to same-sex couples -- across the board”.

"We have made sure that that is a central principle of this administration, because I think it`s a central principle of America," Obama said.

"We said that we could not defend, the federal government poking its nose into what states are doing is putting the thumb on the scale against same sex couples.”

Bureau Report

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