President Obama welcomes the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the White House today in the first state visit for Canada in nearly 20 years.
In his welcome remarks, Obama celebrated the fact that both the United States and Canada have passed national legislation that provides healthcare and marriage equality for all.
“I’m proud to be the first American President to stand with a Canadian Prime Minister and be able to say that—in both our nations—health care is not a privilege for a few but is now a right for all. And as two vast and vibrant societies, we reaffirm that our diversity is our strength—whether your family was among the first native peoples to live on these lands or refugees we welcomed just yesterday.”
He added, “Whether you pray in a church or a synagogue, or a temple, or a mosque, where, no matter what province or state you live in, you have the freedom to marry the person that you love,” which sent the crowd gathered outside the White House into cheers.
The rest of the speech was playful, with the two leaders taking light jabs at one another over hockey and beer, but ultimately praising one another’s work and the work being done by each leader’s respective nation.
Late in the ceremony, Trudeau stated, “Our great countries have been friends a long time. We grew up together. And like all great enduring friendships, at our best, we bring out the best in one another. And through it all, our enormous shared accomplishments speak for themselves—prosperous, free, diverse societies that have shaped history together.”
Check out the full speech below!