WASHINGTON – Hillary Rodham Clinton, free to dip her toe in the water of domestic politics after four years as the nation’s chief diplomat, joined other leading Democrats in endorsing same-sex marriage.
Clinton’s announcement – her first public statement since leaving her post as secretary of State in President Obama’s Cabinet on Feb. 1 – came Monday in a video released by the Human Rights Campaign, a leading gay rights group.
“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. That includes marriage,” Clinton says in the video, adding that she supports marriage rights for same-sex couples “personally and as a matter of policy and law.”
Like many party leaders at the time, Clinton stopped short of support for same-sex marriage as a presidential hopeful in 2008, though she supported civil unions “with full equality of benefits, rights and privileges,” as she said in a 2007 debate. In another candidate forum, she said that the issue of gay rights “will remain an important one in our country” and, noting that Republicans had used the issue to drive conservative voters to the polls in previous elections, she said Democrats should stand “against hatred and divisiveness.”
Now, support for same-sex marriage is embedded in the party’s platform. Vice President Joe Biden, like Clinton a potential contender for the party’s 2016 presidential nomination, announced he supported gay marriage in May 2012, prompting the president to reveal his support days later.
Other possible candidates, including Govs. Andrew Cuomo of New York and Martin O’Malley of Maryland, had already pushed their states to enact marriage equality laws. The issue has evolved so rapidly in contemporary politics that the announcement Friday from a leading Republican, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, supporting gay marriage sparked little response.
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