March 18, 2013 at 11:16 am EDT | by Chris Johnson
Hillary Clinton comes out for marriage equality
Hillary Clinton, Department of State, GLIFAA, Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies, gay news, Washington Blade

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came out for marriage equality on Monday in an HRC video (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

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:

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

  • While the statement was well crafted — and put the issue of equality in a broad policy context both domestically and internationally — it strikes me as too much, too little, too late. She starts the video extolling all the venues and events at which she stood up for “gay rights” — but takes no responsibility either directly, or indirectly, for having been one of the people who impeded progress on “gay rights” because of her views and roll as a national and international thought leader. She is so proud of her “Gay rights are human rights; and human rights are gay rights.” statement, but thinks we forgot about the “except if you want to be married” part that she held onto for years. Longer than her husband, Obama, Joe Biden, Arne Duncan, Dick Cheney, and Laura Bush for heavens sake !

    Like her husband’s earlier public statement that also seems to have historical amnesia — where is the apology for having held a view, and contributed to policy, that actively perpetuated the disenfranchisement they now deplore. It also seems like a self-serving attempt to clear the decks on her equality bona fides, prior to determining if she will run in 2016. Really Hillary — with all the gay love that has come your way all these years — just NOW you are getting around to making a public statement affirming the right of gay and lesbian people to decide who they want to marry ? Kind of late to the party, don’t you think ?

  • This deserves a “better late than never” plug.

  • I would like to know how others feel about common law relationships, will they be tolerated? or will marriage be expected for gay couples to have sex?

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