Obama's use of term 'gay' outpaces that of other presidents

President Obama has used the word “gay” 42 more times than any other president in recent memory, according to the Human Rights Campaign. 

The organization, which advocates for gay rights, released a tally Thursday, finding Obama has used the word 272 times in public speeches, statements and proclamations. 

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The group noted the president has used other terms like “transgender, bisexual, and lesbian” another 149 times.

His used the term most in 2012, while running for reelection. 

Former President Clinton trails closest behind Obama, using the term 216 times. 

The group compiled a list of every time the word was used by a president — going back to Ronald Reagan. It found former President George W. Bush used the term two times while neither George H.W. Bush nor Reagan ever used the term in public statements. 

The report found former President Jimmy Carter was the first president to broach the subject of gay rights in public. 

President Obama has served during a shift in attitude toward gay marriage. A majority of people in most polling support gay marriage, while 17 states and the District of Columbia allow gay marriage. A number of cases challenging other state bans are making their way through the court. 

Obama has had plenty of opportunity to use the term. He signed the repeal of "don’t ask don’t tell" in the military during his first term. And his administration declined to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act before the Supreme Court struck down parts of it as unconstitutional last year. 

His own views on the subject changed during the 2012 campaign when he came out in favor of gay marriage shortly after Vice President Biden endorsed it. 

Last year he became the first president to address the issue during an inauguration speech, comparing the struggle to women’s rights and civil rights. 

The Human Rights Campaign said Obama’s consistent use of the term had helped bring the cause into the mainstream. 

“In so doing, he has inarguably contributed to the political mainstreaming of marriage equality and the general trend toward LGBT acceptance within American society,” it said.