President Barack Obama says America's federal government contracts should not subsidize discrimination.
Obama signed an executive order that will prohibit employment discrimination against those workers by the federal government and its contracting agencies.
The president says many in the crowd, including government officials and gay rights advocates, have waited a long time for this moment. President Obama urged Congress to pass broader non-discrimination legislation that has stalled in the GOP-led House.
Some religious groups and conservatives urged him to provide a broad exemption for religious groups in his executive order, but President Obama declined.
Last month, the Supreme Court allowed some religiously oriented businesses to opt out of President Obama's requirement that employers provide free birth control.