Washington (CNN) – Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced for the first time Monday she supports marriage rights for same-sex couples, saying that "gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights."
"America is at its best when we champion the freedom and dignity of every human being," Clinton said in a video produced by the Human Rights Campaign, a pro-same-sex marriage advocacy group.
The former first lady, U.S. senator, and 2008 presidential candidate had previously backed civil unions and partner benefits for same-sex couples, but had stopped short of a full endorsement for marriage. That was the position of most Democratic primary candidates that year, including President Barack Obama.
During her tenure as secretary of state, Clinton avoided taking political positions, as is customary for the role.
Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, wrote in an opinion article last week that he supported the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, the law he signed in 1996 that defines marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman. It also denies federal benefits to same-sex couples in the nine states where same-sex couples can now legally wed.
In the video released Monday, Hillary Clinton said her time traveling the world as America's top diplomat "inspired and challenged me to think anew about who we are, and the values we represent to the world."
Those values, she said, must include full equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans to marry.
"Full and equal citizens and deserve the rights of citizenship," she said. "That includes marriage. That's why I support marriage for lesbian and gay couples. I support it personally and as a matter of policy and law."
Clinton had previously hinted at her support for marriage rights, speaking favorably of New York's law permitting marriages between same-sex couples. It also brings her in line with major figures in the Democratic Party, including Obama, who came out in support of marriage rights last May.
Democrats also included a plank in their party platform at last summer's convention supporting same-sex marriage.
Clinton's public backing of same-sex marriage comes as the Supreme Court prepares to tackle the issue this spring. Last year the high court agreed to hear two constitutional challenges to state and federal laws dealing with the recognition of gay and lesbian couples to legally wed.
Oral arguments will be held on March 26 and 27, with a ruling by late June.
In her video, Clinton called marriage "a fundamental building block of our society," and with a knowing laugh, called marriage "a great joy and yes, a great responsibility."
"A few years ago, Bill and I celebrated as our own daughter married the love of her life, and I wish every parent that same joy," she said.
Charlotte NC- Show me, in your Bible where God in the 10 Commandments ever mentions gays or gay marraige. It's not there because He does not oppose it. He does BTW oppose false witness. Look for it in the New Testament- Jesus never mentions it. Again, not opposed to it.
When you start using God as a reason for your hate, you have lost all moral reasoning.
Guess who is going for the gay vote next election "HILLOOORY"
I hope the Supreme Court can put aside their religious views when reviewing the Defense of Marriage Act as there is suppose to be separation of church and state and it is violating my rights as a human being to marry whom I choose. My partner and I have been together for three years and we should be able to marry if we choose to, it should be our choice and not anyone else's.
Actually, T you have it backwards. "Marriage" is a legal action sanctioned by the state. It can be performed by a vaiety of professionals- including judges, and has no real sanction by religions unless the parties wish to take their vows in a church. For centuries it has been this way, and civil marriages were every bit as valid as religious one. To deny equal treatment to all gays under the law because SOME religions object is simply not right.Civil marriage should be granted, and if churches do not wish to go along- that's fine.
Ofcourse Hillary backs it....She doesn't have much time left. She won't have to live with it for long......
Are you kidding me CNN? Seriously, who cares what a former Secretary of State (and a bad one at that) thinks about gay marriage. Is this really news, or just more of your Democratic love pandering...?
Well hows that for breaking, news!!!! As if this were a surprise. Really tired of the Clintons constantly trying to grab the limelight. Who cares!
Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!
It's your time lady! Once the GOP clown car crashes and goes up in flames, you will have this!! I will work tirelessly to get you elected. Please take care, rest up, and get ready to be #46 and the 1st female POTUS!!
She would have made a better president than Obama
Regardless of what conservatives say about pandering to Gays for votes, the reality is that whether Mrs. Clinton supports Gay marriages or not, she wins by a LANDSLIDE in 2016. And I'm glad she's doing the right thing.
the only reason heteros don't want gays to get married is because gays will do it right and make them look like fools. Heteros have been messing up marriage for generations, be awful for a group to change that.
Hmmm, drop out of the State Department to put distance between her past and the Obama administration. Smells like she is gearing up for the 2016 presidential race. Maybe people might forget, maybe not. One thing that is obvious, her fire to get that 28th (ERA) amendment once a for all.
Marriage is between a man and wo–
GAHHHHHHHHHH Forget it. I'm sick and tired of telling people what it should be. It's obviously not making a difference, I have no right to judge anyways, God is the only true judge.
Hillary, you have chosen today, and your 2016 campaign will suffer as a direct result: Unwisely.
I was just reading about the Rove-Palin spat, and was wondering where all the right wing folks were. It looks like I found them. Go Hillary.