In his first public comments since New York legalized same-sex marriage, President Barack Obama on Wednesday said gays should be treated like every other American.
Obama called the new law a "good decision" because people debated their views and came to a decision.
However, the president stopped short of endorsing same-sex marriage -- something that has bothered many gay activists.
"We cannot discriminate, as a country, on the basis of sexual orientation. And we have done more in the two and a half years that I've been in here than the past 43 presidents to uphold that principle," said Obama. "I think what you're seeing is profound recognition on the part of the American people that gays and lesbians and transgender persons are our brothers, sisters, children, cousins, friends, co-workers and that they've got to be treated like every other American."
President Obama is a longtime supporter of civil unions, but has only said his views on same-sex marriage are evolving.
The president made the remarks during a wide-ranging news conference that also touched on the nation's economy.
Obama says negotiators have identified $1 trillion in spending cuts, as the deadline to raise the debt ceiling nears.
He pressed lawmakers to eliminate tax breaks for oil companies and the wealthy and extend payroll tax cut for another year.
Obama also suggested legislation to make it easier for entrepreneurs to patent their ideas, saying Congress should look to entitlements -- including social security and medicare -- for spending cuts.
In an effort to shift the conversation, the president lashed out at Republican leaders for being the stalemate in budget talks.
"If everybody else is willing to take on their sacred cows and do tough things in order to achieve the goal of real deficit reduction, I think it would be hard for the Republicans to stand there and say the tax break for corporate jets is sufficiently important that we're not willing to come to the table and get a deal done," Obama said.
Budget negotiations fell apart last week when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor left talks with Vice President Biden.
Republicans have refused to engage in talks that include raising taxes.
The deadline for raising the nation's debt ceiling is August 2nd.