October 16, 2015 at 5:58 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Clinton addresses evolution on same-sex marriage
Hillary Clinton addresses at town hall at Keene State College. (image courtesy CSPAN)

Hillary Clinton addresses marriage at a town hall meeting at Keene State College. (Image courtesy CSPAN)

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton addressed on Friday her evolution from opposition to support for same-sex marriage, saying her views changed as a result of “personal relationships.”

Clinton made the remarks during a town hall at Keene State College in New Hampshire when responding to an attendee who identified himself as a bisexual student and asked her to compare her change in position to others who remained firm in their views.

“Yes my views did evolve, and I think most people my age would say the same thing — there might be some exceptions,” Clinton said. “But largely because of my strong opposition to discrimination of any sort and my personal relationships with a lot of people over the years, I certainly concluded that marriage equality should be the law of the land, and I was thrilled when the Supreme Court made it the law of the land.”

While acknowledging her changing views on marriage, Clinton maintained she’s always been an advocate for LGBT people.

“If you speak with the Human Rights Campaign or any of the large advocacy groups, they will tell you that they count on me and that you can count on me,” Clinton said.

Clinton recalled she was the first and only first lady to march in a Pride parade when she took part in the New York City parade during her initial run for the U.S. Senate in 2000.

“I have been an advocate, a vocal, visible advocate for equality and against discrimination,” Clinton said.

Looking forward, Clinton said she’ll “enforce marriage equality,” but additional action is needed to end anti-LGBT discrimination in other areas.

“A lot of states now, because of the constitutional decision, you can get married on Saturday and get fired on Monday because we still permit discrimination in employment and in public accommodations,” Clinton said.

Clinton reiterated her support for the Equality Act, which she endorsed upon its introduction in July, and went so far as to call it her “highest priority.”

“Marriage isn’t the end of the debate, it’s along the path to true equality, and you will be able to count on me to fight for you,” Clinton concluded.

Although she supported civil unions, Clinton declined to back same-sex marriage throughout her tenure as first lady, a U.S. senator from New York, a 2008 presidential candidate or as secretary of state.

Clinton announced her support for same-sex marriage in 2013 in a video from the Human Rights Campaign. During a recent appearance on “Ellen,” Cheslea Clinton said she “absolutely” pushed her mother Hillary to endorse marriage equality.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

14 Comments
  • The Blade seems to be heavily biased toward Hillary Clinton. Please give Bernie Sanders equal coverage.

    • Bernie may say the right things but the self affixed socialist label frightens many voters and will be used as a wedge issue by conservatives. I can hear it now. The socialist wants to take your hard earned money and redistribute it to others that didn’t work hard for it! If he’s depicted as too far to the left it may hurt not help. Just like it hurts anyone to be too extreme to the right.

      I also am concerned that Bernie is too old to run for a 2nd term. He at least looks like he is. I want someone that can stick it out for two terms. Too much is at stake.

      • Bernie doesn’t only say the right things – he DOES the right thing. He has a LONG record of standing for justice and looking out for those on the margins. Clinton has been far less bold or prophetic in her witness for the Beloved Community.

        • That maybe but what counts is can he really win against a Republican challenger? We don’t need a Ralph Nader effect either on the general election which only gives the GOP the advantage especially if it’s a tight election. It’s too important especially given that the Supreme Court and a possible vacancy is in play.

          It’s the SCOTUS that has been giving us favorable decisions that have given us most of the legal victories we benefit from today. Only in the case of Hate Crimes and DADT have we achieved anything out of Congress.

          I’ve never heard of Bernie until now for all he may have done for us. I still think his image of being too old is a handicap just like for Biden. It’s really not about how qualified you are but how strong you come across to voters unfortunately. For all the good Bernie wants to do, without a Congress that supports that agenda, it will be an uphill battle especially with Tea Party obstructionist in the House!

          I’m not saying that Clinton is the best candidate per se for the job but given who is out there like Biden she maybe the only viable alternative. Many times when it comes to an election you are picking the lesser of two evils. And yes, it matters because not voting at all may give the greater evil the advantage if the elections are close! History shows us that.

          We still don’t know who the Democrat will be up against in the GOP. Take nothing for granted. We did that in Massachusetts when Ted Kennedy’s seat became vacant and a Republican won his seat as Democrats arrogantly thought they were invincible in a liberal state.

          • Bernie has made it crystal clear that he will NEVER be a spoiler. But at this point we have not had a single primary or caucus and only ONE debate. We need a vigorous discussion and contest. That is healthy for the country and the Democratic Party. Bernie is bringing millions of new voters into the process. We should rejoice at that. The Blade needs to give fair and equal coverage to Bernie Sanders as the other major candidate for the Democratic nomination. A coronation – or even biased, one-sided coverage – only weaken our chances in November 2016.

          • I’m fine with Bernie getting more coverage. But I still see him as too old. The job of President takes a toll. Even if he won, I can’t see him serving a 2nd term.

            If he can attract more voters for Dems, great! If he can shape public policy, better. But electability is the ultimate consideration!

            Gavin Newsom!

          • Bernie ideas are not old. And he is energizing young voters like crazy. A dozen young Bernie supporters were working the Vienna Metro the other night. With Elizabeth Warren as VP we would have a great back up too !

          • Ideas no, but image, unfortunately is old. I’m glad younger voters are supporting him but I want a long haul candidate. Do you honestly think Bernie could do two terms? If you think that won’t come up in an election it’s naïve.

            I also can’t imagine him coming across as strong if he’s up against say Rubio with the age gap. It’s not fair but that’s reality.

            Gavin Newsom!

          • Bernie does not need to serve two terms – though I am not convinced he couldn’t . Other cultures are no so ageist and value experience and wisdom. In any case, that is NOT a reason for us not to have vigorous debate on issues and fair coverage of ALL candidates – their positions and record.

          • He may not need two terms but I don’t want to waste the nomination on a one-term candidate.

            Regardless, I never said there couldn’t a debate or complete coverage of all candidates. But this is not about debates this is about winning an election and making sure the right person gets into office.

          • This whole discussion was in response to my comment “The Blade seems to be heavily biased toward Hillary Clinton. Please give Bernie Sanders equal coverage.” You have turned it into a discussion of Bernie’s age – which is irrelevant in terms of giving fair coverage and debate during this campaign. We need to debate the issues and candidate’s track records and values. You have not made the case that Clinton’s current and past positions on the issues are better than Bernie’s or that he is wrong in his views – you just argue he is too old in your eyes and that Clinton is more electable. Perhaps you are right but my original call for fair coverage and rigorous honest debate is no less valid either way.

  • The question isn’t about why Clinton changed her mind on same sex marriage. The question is why she waited so long. Virtually every other prominent Democrat had “evolved” on same sex marriage before she and Bill did. It’s also a bit rich she says she’s always supported LGBT rights when it was the Clintons who pushed through DADT and DOMA.

    • The better question is why do all the Democratic Candidates including Clinton now support GLBT rights as part of their platform while pretty much all the GOP Presidential candidates do not? Even those that say they accept the marriage equality ruling as the law still do not support it as the right thing to do. Besides, there a lot more issues facing our community other than Marriage equality that took the back seat to this one issue. Clinton now endorses them while the GOP still does not. What matter to most people is what are you doing for me now baby!

      I really don’t think Democrats had the backbone to support marriage equality openly until Obama risked his re-election on it by supporting it and still won the election! That was the turning point for politicians in supporting it!

      Yeah, the CLINTONs supported DOMA when it was passed and even promoted it but that was after we elected them to office and pretty much everyone opposed marriage equality back then in both parties as did the Majority of heterosexuals. DOMA was passed with a lot of support in Congress. As for DADT, Clinton tried to get it repealed but didn’t have the backbone at the time because the majority of the nation was against lifting the ban and integrating Gay and Lesbian troops into the military at the time.

      Usually with major social change there is first a major knee jerk reaction against it leading to a backlash before people then change course and embrace it!

  • The only thing a Clinton believes in is political expedience. Whatever gets you the vote is what is right.

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