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.