Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton formally announced her support for gay marriage in a Human Rights Campaign video today.
“I support marriage for lesbian and gay couples,” Clinton said publicly for the first time in the six-minute video. “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.”
Clinton opposed same-sex marriage, while favoring civil unions for gays, as a U.S. senator from New York and during her 2008 presidential campaign. When New York legalized gay marriage in 2011, Clinton, then secretary of State, called the vote “historic” and said, “We have to continue to stand up for the rights and the well-being of LGBT people,” according to Politico.
“Like so many others, my personal views have been shaped over time by people I have known and loved, by my experience representing our nation on the world stage, my devotion to law and human rights, and the guiding principles of my faith,” Clinton said in the new video.
Clinton said her time at the State Department “inspired and challenged” her to reexamine “who we are and the values we represent” as Americans. She said she directed diplomats to combat “repressive laws” around the world and changed State Department policy to ensure fair treatment for LGBT employees and their families.
“To deny the opportunity to any of our daughters and sons solely on the basis of who they are and who they love is to deny them the chance to live up to their own God-given potential,” she said in the video.
Clinton, who has made no commitments about her political future, would be a leading contender in the 2016 presidential race. She topped a recent poll of potential candidates, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Vice President Joseph Biden. Her supporters set up a super political action committee, Ready for Hillary, in January in case she decides to run.
Clinton’s announcement comes just over a week before the Supreme Court hears arguments on the Defense of Marriage Act, a law banning same-sex marriage that her husband, Bill Clinton, signed 17 years ago during his presidency. Bill Clinton urged the Supreme Court to strike down the law on March 8, Bloomberg reported.
Hillary Clinton’s announcement also comes three days after Sen. Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican, said he supports gay marriage because his son is gay.