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CBS/AP​ ​ September 27, 2015, 11:09 PM Obama: Religious freedom no excuse to deny rights

CBS/AP​ September 27, 2015, 11:09 PM

Obama: Religious freedom no excuse to deny rights to others

Obama: Religious freedom no excuse to deny rights to others 32 ​ ​ Photos U.S. President


U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a Democratic National Committee LGBT Gala at Gotham Hall in New York September 27, 2015.






NEW YORK- Freedom of religion isn't reason enough to deny any American their constitutional rights, President Barack Obama said Sunday as he addressed members of the LGBT community, one of his major sources of political and financial support.

Speaking at a Democratic Party fundraiser, Obama said it's important to recognize that some parts of the country remain uncomfortable with same-sex marriage and that it will take time for them to catch up to the majority of Americans who support such unions.

But while Americans hold dear the constitutional right to practice their religion free from government interference, he said that right can't be used to deny constitutional rights to others.

can't be used to deny constitutional rights to others. Play ​ ​ VIDEO Kentucky clerk; "A


"We affirm that we cherish our religious freedom and are profoundly respectful of religious traditions," Obama said during remarks that were interrupted by repeated applause and cheers. "But we also have to say clearly that our religious freedom doesn't grant us the freedom to deny our fellow Americans their constitutional rights."

"And that even as we are respectful and accommodating genuine concerns and interests of religious institutions, we need to reject politicians who are supporting new forms of discrimination as a way to scare up votes. That's not how we move

America forward," he added. That was an apparent reference to some of the Republican presidential candidates.

Earlier this month, Kentucky county clerk Kim Davisspent several days in jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples despite a Supreme Court ruling that made same-sex unions legal nationwide. Davis said such marriages violate her Apostolic Christian faith.

said such marriages violate her Apostolic Christian faith. Play ​ ​ VIDEO Kim Davis returns to


Since being released, the Rowan County clerk has allowed marriage licenses to be issued, but only without her name and title. She also announced that she has left the Democratic Party and become a Republican.

CBS News Correspondent Jericka Duncan reportedthere are at least 13 counties in three states where judges and clerks have turned away couples seeking marriage licenses since June, when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriages.

Jim Obergefell, the plaintiff in Obergefell v. Hodges, the legal case that led the Supreme Court to do so, introduced Obama.

The president began by recalling for his supporters that "seven years ago, we

came together not just to elect a president, but to reaffirm our faith in that most

American of ideals: the notion that people, no matter where they come from who they love can change this country."


He noted that everyone in the U.S., regardless of sexual orientation, is protected by a federal hate crimes law he signed in his first year as president, and that federal contractors are barred from terminating employees for being gay.

Obama got some of his biggest cheers and loudest applause when he said "we live in an America where 'don't ask, don't tell' is something that 'don't exist.'" Obama lifted the Pentagon policy that barred gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.

"And tonight, thanks to the unbending sense of justice passed down through

generations of citizens who never gave up hope that we could bring this country

closer to our founding ideals equal as well," he said.

we now live in America where our marriages are

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