President Obama speaks at LGBT gala in NYC

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US President Barack Obama speaks during the Democratic National Committee LGBT Gala at Gotham Hall on June 17, 2014 in New York, New York. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) – President Barack Obama is telling gay Democratic Party donors that when it comes to advances in gay rights, it’s not just laws that are changing but hearts and minds.

Obama singles out steps he has taken on behalf of the gay community, including ending the military’s “don’t ask don’t tell” policies, signing a hate crimes bill, appointing gay judges and other measures.

He got a raucous standing ovation when he said he had directed his staff to prepare an executive order barring discrimination by federal contractors on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The White House announced that initiative Monday, a day before the fundraising dinner by the Democratic National Committee.

Obama is in New York for three big dollar fundraisers Tuesday.