Michelle Obama invites Jason Collins as her guest to the State of the Union

Obama called Collins' decision to come out while active as a pro athlete "a huge step forward for our country"

Published January 27, 2014 2:14PM (EST)

               (Kwaku Alston/SI)
(Kwaku Alston/SI)

The White House announced Monday that Michelle Obama will be bring openly gay NBA athlete Jason Collins as one of her guests to the State of the Union.

Collins came out in the spring of 2013, making him the first openly gay male athlete active with an elite professional team. Obama tweeted her support to Collins at the time of his announcement, saying, "So proud of you, Jason Collins! This is a huge step forward for our country! We've got your back!"

The first lady and Collins also headlined a Democratic fundraiser in May.

“Jason, we are so proud of you," she said during the event, according to a report from the Advocate. "We are proud of your talent, your character, your courage, and we are so proud. He has just made the difference in the lives of so many of our young people. So let’s give one more round of applause to our friend, Jason Collins. We love you so much, Jason.”

Boston Marathon bombing survivors Carlos Arredondo and Jeff Bauman will also be seated with the first lady and Jill Biden during the Tuesday address.

By Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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Flotus Jason Collins Lgbt Rights Michelle Obama Sotu State Of The Union