March 18th, 2013
10:52 AM ET
10 years ago

Hillary Clinton announces support for same-sex marriage

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.

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (90 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I love how people who proclaim to love the U.S. Constitution don't want to abide by it when it is something they disagree with.

    March 18, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  2. Joe M2.

    Sorry. Not buying into the sincerity of ANY politician supporting this issue. It's obvious that if you want to be considered "electable" you need to have some sort of approval of gay marriage. Remember, this is politics. There is no truth, honesty or sincerity in politics. There never was and never will be. Honesty is NOT electable.

    March 18, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  3. Ove Sorensen

    Hillary is wise and right as usual.
    Can you imagine Boehner, Cruz, McConnell, Rubio, Jindall, or any other of the old, white fools up against her???
    It is almost unfair.

    March 18, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    I support legislation that does not block same sex marriage. It's because of all of the theocratically righteous indignant that we even need laws to "legalize" it. If you read the Constitution, there's nothing in it to block same sex marriage. More importantly, there's no references to God, The Bible, nor any of the arguments opponents cite. That's why the want to pass laws to ban it, which is unconstitutional in and of itself.

    March 18, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  5. Name

    Hillary Clinton just lost my vote.

    March 18, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  6. Common Sense 13

    I don't believe in gay marriage but I believe everyone has the right and freedom to do what they want to go in if they want to marry so be it who am I to say no??? Equal Rights for religion says different but that's my belief

    March 18, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  7. Al-NY,NY

    it's the correct position to take. GOP???? Anyone (who actually IS still active and not wives, ex-politicians, etc) dare to say the same???

    March 18, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  8. TD

    Not surprising that the same people who feel gay marriage is ok are the same people who would deny a child's right to exist

    March 18, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |

    We we support and enact legislation that upholds specific religious principles, we are indeed in violation of the 1st amendment "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." It is reprehensible that in today people are still being disenfranchised and discriminated against because of who they are. If you do not stand against discrimination today you should certainly expect to fall prey to it tomorrow.

    March 18, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  10. critical thinking

    Lets see, Obama evolved to same sex marriage, then Bill Clinton announces that he is for same sex marriage even though he signed a bill to ban it, then a week later Hillary comes out for it, that was before she and Bill were against it. Yeah our past, current and potentially future leaders all have strong backbones and integrity. Pandering to the max.

    March 18, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  11. king

    it always amazed me that repubs always screaming about someone taking their liberty, yet they are the most liberty taking folks on the planet, excluding the taliban of course.

    March 18, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  12. Odo

    Hey TD – not surprising that people like you who want to deny freedom to gays want to deny them to women as well.

    March 18, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  13. Mentallect

    Hillary's opening shot for the White House in 2016?

    March 18, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  14. joe

    just say anything to get votes,Bill likes it too.

    March 18, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  15. John W

    Step 1 for 2016 run: Support gay marriage – CHECK

    March 18, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  16. bjarki

    Do we have only one problem these days. Same sex marriage. ???? Have we existing heteros ore am i the last ?

    March 18, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  17. PIZAN

    Of course she does, its whatever is politically popular to do. Funny how politicians points of view change with polling numbers!

    March 18, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  18. Moonraker

    This is awesome. It pleases me every day that the democrats are in control of things rather than the GOP who are on the wrong side of every social issue. Hilary 2016!

    March 18, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  19. Wes

    Looks like she has evolved and will be running for pres in 2016. God help us.

    March 18, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  20. Mike

    No marriage - gay or straight - should be a legal institution. There is no reason to encourage people to live in pairs by providing them with health or tax benefits. What's wrong with single people? What's wrong with people who want to live and love in groups of three or more? Nothing. Marriages fail more than half the time in the U.S., and that's with tax incentives, social pressure, and religious pressure encouraging people to marry and stay married. It's clearly an institution no longer relevant to our society, and I'm tired of paying more in taxes than married people. Making gay marriage legal is just adding to the number of folks who can benefit from unfair policies.

    March 18, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  21. Kman66

    I want gay people to be happy and not feel threatened because of their choice, and to be entitled to the same benefits as normal couples, but out children should not be deceived that it is a perfectly natural thing. It is not. The human race would cease to exist if we were all gay. That is what makes it unnatural. It should not be called marriage or equated to a traditional marriage. That type of union should be accepted and not discriminated against, but should be it's own entity. It is not marriage. Marriage is a man and a woman.

    March 18, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  22. Jerry

    Of course, of course! She's "feathering" her bed for 2016. She been well trained by the MAN himself. Whoa!!! Not Billy Boy, but the Great Divider-in-Chief.

    I am hopeful that come election time, Américans will remember that, in essence, she is responsible for the deaths of four innocent/patriotic Americans. Of course, lame stream media will probably NOT cover the issue; but American citizens should REMEMBER!

    Stay tuned...

    March 18, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  23. Rudy NYC


    Not surprising that the same people who feel gay marriage is ok are the same people who would deny a child's right to exist
    What's more surprising is people who say stuff like you see above are too hypocritical to realize that they are the same people who call themselves "right to lifers" , who are such avid supporters of the death penalty.

    March 18, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  24. CryBabies

    This is a slow evolving story.....there is more, much more to come.

    March 18, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  25. MConnell

    I totally agree with Hillary Clinton. I think she is a brilliant woman who is not afraid to "go against the grain" when she feels strongly against something. My own feelings about gay marriage have evolved over the past few years. I was against it five years ago. I have spend a long time thinking about it and observing gay couples in public, and I have come to the conclusion that they are human beings just like the rest of us, except for a different sexual orientation. Big deal!! Let them live their lives with the same rights, privileges, that the rest of us enjoy. By the way, I am a senior citizen (69 years old) and I have a lot of senior friends who feel the same way. Go Hillary-we're with you girl.

    March 18, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
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