Bringing an end to her previous silence on the issue, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made public her support for marriage equality in an online video posted on Monday.
“LGBT Americans are our colleagues, our teachers, our soldiers our friends, our loved ones — and they are full and equal citizens and deserve the rights of citizenship,” Clinton says in the video. “That includes marriage. That’s why I support for marriage for lesbian and gay couples. I support it personally and as a matter of policy and law embedded in a broader effort to advance equality and opportunity for LGBT Americans and all Americans.”
In the video made for the Human Rights Campaign as part of its “Americans for Marriage Equality” Series, Clinton says her views have been “shaped over time” by conversations and by her faith — a process similar to what President Obama articulated when he came for marriage equality last year.
“Marriage, after all, is a fundamental building block of our society, a great joy, and, yes, a great responsibility,” Clinton says.
Clinton, who’s seen as contender for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, was one the last remaining prominent members of her party who hadn’t yet articulated support for marriage equality. Others who came before her include her husband former President Bill Clinton, as well as Republicans such as former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio).
Her last public statement on same-sex marriage as a policy matter was in November 2010 during a forum with students in Australia. At the time, Clinton said on the issue, “I have not supported same-sex marriage. I’ve supported civil partnerships and contractual relationships.”
Later, at a Pride celebration at the State Department in June 2011, Clinton talked about the excitement of the recent passed same-sex marriage law in New York without officially endorsing marriage equality.
Both those events took place before her boss at the time, Obama, had himself come out in favor of same-sex marriage.
LGBT rights supporters had high praise for Clinton’s announcement, which comes on the heels of a term as secretary of state in which she was renowned for speaking in out in favor of LGBT rights overseas.
Among them was HRC President Chad Griffin, who said Clinton’s support for marriage equality represents the evolution of many Americans on the issue.
“Secretary Clinton is like millions of everyday Americans who have reflected on the issue of marriage equality and come to the conclusion that we must treat others as we would like to be treated,” Griffin said. “It is the golden rule that is moving our country inexorably toward marriage for gay and lesbian couples.”
Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, expressed a similar sentiment.
“Freedom to Marry welcomes Sec. Clinton’s support alongside so many Americans who, like her, have made a journey of opening hearts and changing minds to stand up for American values of fairness, inclusion, and dignity for loving and committed couples,” Wolfson said.
On Monday under questioning from the Associated Press, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said he was unaware if the Obama administration had any prior knowledge that Clinton would make the announcement.
“I can tell you that the president believes that anytime a public official of stature steps forward to embrace a commitment that he shares to equality for LGBT Americans, he thinks it’s a good thing,” Carney said. “I haven’t spoken to him about Secretary Clinton’s announcement, but I know that that’s what he feels in general when major figures in our society make their views known, and it’s a testimony to how far this country and how quickly this country has traveled, as he has said.
Watch the video here: