Following in her husband Bill Clinton’s footsteps, Hillary Clinton came out in full public support of marriage equality ahead of next week’s Supreme Court hearings on the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Prop 8.
The former secretary of state announced her stance in a six-minute video posted Monday by the Human Rights Campaign, a leading gay rights group. Clinton said LGBT Americans “deserve the rights of citizenship” as “full and equal citizens,” adding that includes the right to legally marry.
A long-time supporter of civil unions between same-sex couples, one of Clinton's first initiatives in 2009 as secretary of state extended equal benefits to partners of gay American diplomats. Monday's announcement marks a bolder stance for Clinton that’s more in line with the views of President Obama and potential 2016 Democratic contenders including Vice President Joe Biden, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, all of whom support marriage equality.
Clinton acknowledged her evolving position on the issue. “Like so many others, my 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. She also credited her own daughter’s wedding for the change of heart.
Former President Bill Clinton urged the Supreme Court to overturn DOMA–a bill he personally signed into law in 1996--in a Washington Post op-ed published earlier this month.
In keeping with the GOP's position, House Speaker John Boehner reitereated his anti-gay marriage stance. “I believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman,” he said on Sunday. But Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, once considered as a possible running mate alongside Mitt Romney, broke with the majority of his party and endorsed marriage equality.
A Washington Post-ABC poll released on Monday shows public support for marriage equality reached a new high. Approximately 58% of Americans now say gay marriage should be legal, while 36% disagree.