President Obama welcomed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the White House Thursday, marking the first state visit from a Canadian leader in 19 years, reports the The New York Times.
The two world leaders discussed health care and climate change, and celebrated the arrival of marriage equality in both countries.
"No matter what province or state you live in, you have the freedom to marry the person you love," said President Obama.
Last month Trudeau announced he would be issuing a posthumous pardon to a man who admitted to police he was gay and wound up being declared a dangerous sexual offender and sent to prison in the 1960s, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
LGBT rights advocates hailed the announcement, noting that the prime minister's father, former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, had championed a bill to decriminalize private, consensual sex acts between people of the same sex over the age of 21. Homosexuality was decriminalized in Canada in 1969 — just one year into the elder Trudeau's first term as prime minister. Canada embraced marriage equality by parliamentary action in 2005.
Justin Trudeau, "the scion of a major Canadian political dynasty," according to Vox, has built on his father's liberal reputation and is noted for his progressive political views, being a self-proclaimed feminist and a passionate advocate for LGBT rights.
Trudeau became Canada's first national leader to attend an LGBT Pride festival when he marched in Toronto's Pride parade last June. U.K. LGBT outlet Pink News notes that Trudeau was a frequent attendee of Pride celebrations in Vancouver and Toronto, but his presence after his election to prime minister made history.
“We’re celebrating 10 years of taking the decision the Supreme Court in the U.S. just took,” Trudeau said during an interview with Canada's Global News at Toronto Pride, shortly after the U.S. marriage equality decision. “It’s a great day for freedom. It’s wonderful to see political leaders, celebrating this.”
In February, Trudeau took a stand against anti-LGBT bullying, donning a pink T-shirt and filming a video for Pink Shirt Day, an annual antibullying campaign that originated in Nova Scotia in 2007. "On Pink Shirt Day, we stand up to bullying and vow to spread kindness," the prime minister tweeted last month when sharing his video.
Trudeau’s predecessor, Steven Harper, made headlines in 2012 when anxiety arose that his administration was trying to undo the legality of same-sex marriage in Canada. Harper told the public there was nothing to worry about.
Watch Obama and Trudeau's remarks at the White House below.