Gay couples and their children are being invited to the White House to take part in the annual Easter Egg Roll event.

The Egg Roll is a race where children push a hardboiled egg through grass with a long-handled club and dates back to 1878.

White House officials said that tickets for Monday’s event were being distributed to gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans organisations, but did not state how many or to whom.

The Family Equality Council, Human Rights Campaign, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and other groups confirmed they were invited and their members encouraged to attend.

Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of Family Equality Council, said she was “thrilled” that the White House had encouraged LGBT families to apply for tickets to the event.

She said: “It’s clear to me that when the Obama administration thinks about American families, they think about LGBT families, as well.

“For too long our families suffered under administrations that simply ignored us or attacked us outright, often for the sake of short-term political gain.

“Americans are tired of divisive politics. In a time of national crisis, all Americans – all families – should come together to renew this country. LGBT families will take this opportunity to show up and be counted as part of this great effort.”

In 2006, George Bush invited more than 100 gay parents to the event but critics suggested they were politically hijacking it.