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. critical stinking

    It's called "personal growth". You know that thing that happens when you actually learn from and have some empathy for your fellow human beings.

    March 18, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  2. Mark MacDonald

    In other startling news, Truman beats Dewey and man has landed on the moon.

    March 18, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  3. CryBabies

    @Moonraker....Enough time up there. Time for you to get your return ticket to Earth.

    March 18, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  4. Hilary 2016

    Thank you, Madam President.

    March 18, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    If I remember my Cathecism correctly, I recall God having a lot to say about being your brother's keeper, and treating others the way you'd like to be treated; he spoke ad nauseum about forgiveness, and putting no God before him. But I have NO RECOLLECTION whatsoever of God disowning Gays, kicking them out of his Church, and making them roam the earth like the tribes of Jerusalem.
    Chapter and verse from those that say that so sayeth the Bible...

    March 18, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  6. Mike

    Surprised? Anyone? No? Didn't think so. On to the real news...

    March 18, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  7. Stormy

    And this was a surprise how???

    March 18, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  8. Fernando

    These politicians have duel evolutions; one is personal while the other is political, the latter being determined by the political winds. I can't blame them as it would be political suicide to buck the wind too much, too soon. Timing is critical in these matters.

    March 18, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  9. ViK100

    Of course!! She knows the number of gays has skyrocketed in this country.. Just like Obama, she would do anything, even what is inmoral, in order to get more votes. Disgusting to say the least!

    March 18, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  10. dontagree

    who care what she thinks, I would have possibly voted for her, but she is in bed with devil as well, so kiss off. The revenge for this immoral and revolting behavior is upon the horizon

    March 18, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  11. Michelle

    I don't know why anyone thinks they should have the right to tell my partner and I that we cannot get married if we want to; its a violation of our constitutional rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

    March 18, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  12. Chicagit

    Who cares. But she's a clever politician, she knows half of America will vote mostly on social issues. What I want to know is, after Barry's mess will she go the route of Cypress?

    March 18, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  13. dontagree

    it also says in the bible that homosexuality is a sin, and you treat them like your brother but turn them away from the sin, and vileness that affects them......

    March 18, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  14. T

    Ah yes, I love how when a Democrat changes their stance, it's because they are "evolving" yet if a republican ever changes their stance, they are "flip-flopping".

    Here's how I feel: The government shouldn't recognize anything other than civil unions. . .be that man/woman, man/man or man/woman. It is then up to the churches to decide if they wish to "marry" someone in their church. Doesn't this solve all of the problems?

    After all, "marriage" is mostly a religious term, and they could keep things separate by applying this method across the board. You wouldn't get a "marriage certificate" from the government, you would get a "civil union" certificate, which would guarantee everyone the same rights to healthcare, decision making, and tax benefits/burdons, as well as the mess of getting a "divorce" and having your partner take half of everything.


    March 18, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  15. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Everyone who was looking to be taken seriously on this subject should've walked through THAT door as soon as President Obama pried it open.
    But nooooooo! They had to wait and see how that played out for him in the polls and at the polls.
    It is not coming across as convincingly now as it could've say... a long time ago.

    March 18, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  16. ViK100

    @Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Who has kicked the gays out of the church?? The church talks to them about changing aspects of their lives that separates them from doing the will of God. Gay marriage is NOT the will of God. But the church welcomes all people, gay or not, thieves or not, prostitutes and adulterers.. All are welcome but they cannot change the Word of God and God's commandments to accomodate sin and promote it as if it was the truth.

    March 18, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  17. CryBabies

    @DM4O..Quite a stretch there M'am. The Bible seems to always get interpreted to support ones beliefs.....especially political beliefs.

    March 18, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  18. shane

    Leviticus 18. Romans chapter 1. To say that the bible does not speak against homosexuality is incorrect

    March 18, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  19. Rob

    Of course she would. She has nothing else going for her! Horrible excuse for a woman.

    March 18, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  20. Sal

    Unfortunately gays can never marry. Legally yes but not physically (can't happen). Hillary, anything to get a vote but i'm afraid she's lost mine.

    March 18, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  21. Hmm

    Since "gay rights" are nothing more than generic human rights, there is no need for any special rights for homosexuals, since human rights apply to all humans. Marriage of course is not a right. It is a social contract between a man and a woman, considered special thus far in society which has also been given civil tax considerations. If marriage is no longer a special contract between a man and a woman, but just a contract between any two humans, then there is no reason for special tax considerations – and no need for civil "marriage". If two people want to make contracts with each other about finances, childrearing, privacy-sharing, power of attorney, etc. they can do so privately. Plus, simplify the tax code. Have only individual or head of household categories. Leave "marriage" between a man and a woman to the nonsecular realm where is a spiritual sacrament not a civil contract. (:-|)

    March 18, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  22. MaryM

    Thank you Hillary. And I look forward to working towards the day we all can call you Madam President.

    March 18, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  23. News Reader

    Prep for the 2016 run ... gathering votes!

    March 18, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  24. liberal disease

    took her 66 years, i wonder what she has up her sleeve? she only does things to advance herself. She ran for senator of NY told all of her drones she is here to stay than bolted to run for President and got creamed by this neophyte in the white house after building a 35 point lead..What exactly do you libs see in her?..oh yea she also lied for her husband after all of his rape attempts! nice people!

    March 18, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  25. Jose79845

    Hillary is playing the gay card as a distraction away from her hatred of marijuana.

    March 18, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
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