Obama criticizes Republican rivals in speech to gays

October 2, 2011 03:28

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama criticized Republican presidential candidates on Saturday for not defending a gay American soldier who was booed by the crowd at a Republican debate last week.

"We don't believe in standing silent when that happens," Obama said in the keynote address at the annual convention of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest US gay lobby group.

In his remarks, Obama hailed the repeal of the US military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, and urged the US Congress to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

But, as he has done in the past, Obama stopped short of endorsing same-sex marriages. He says his views on the subject are still evolving.

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