Hillary Clinton has come out for marriage equality.
On Monday (18 March), the US Democrat made the announcement in an online video released by the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign.
In the five-minute video, she says gays and lesbians are ‘full and equal citizens and deserve the rights of citizenship.’
‘That includes marriage,’ Clinton says, adding she backs same-sex marriage both ‘personally and as a matter of policy and law.’
She adds: ‘Marriage after all is a fundamental building block of our society, 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 had the same joy.
‘To deny the opportunity to any of our daughters or sons solely on the basis of who they are, and who they love, is to deny them the chance to live up to their own God-given potential.’
Clinton’s announcement coincides with the already rampant speculation she is considering running for president in 2016.
Other possible Democrat contenders, including Vice President Joe Biden, New York Governer Andrew Cuomo, and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, all back same-sex marriage.
Check out the video, as well as a transcript of the video, here:
A little over a year ago in Geneva, I told the nations of the world that gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights, and the United States would be a leader in defending those rights.
There were some countries that did not want to hear that, but I believe America is at its best when we champion the freedom of dignity of every human being. That is who we are, it’s in our DNA. As Secretary of State, I had the privilege of being able to represent that America.
I will never forget the young Tunisian who asked me after the revolution in his country how America could teach his new democracy to protect the rights of LGBT citizens. He saw America as an example for the world and as a beacon of hope.
That was what was in my mind as I engaged in some pretty tough conversations with foreign leaders who did not accept that human rights apply to everyone – gay and straight. When I directed our diplomats around the world to combat repressive laws and reach out to brave activists fighting on the front lines, and when I changed state department policy to ensure that our LGBT families are treated more fairly.
Travelling the world these past four years reaffirmed and deepened my pride in our country and the ideals we stand for. It also inspired and challenged me to think anew about who we are and the values we represent to the rest of the world.
Now having left public office, I want to share some of what I’ve learned and what I’ve come to believe.
For America to continue leading in the world, there is work we must do at home. That means investing in our people, our economy, our national security. It also means working everyday as citizens, as communities, as a country to live up to our highest ideals and continue our long march to a more perfect union.
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.
That is why I support marriage for lesbian and gay couples. I support it personally and as a matter of policy and law embedded in a broader effort to advance equality and opportunity for LGBT Americans and all Americans.
Like so many others my personal views have been shaped over time by people I have known and loved, by my experience of representing our nation on the world stage, my devotion to law and human rights, and the guiding principles of my faith.
Marriage after all is a fundamental building block of our society, 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 had the same joy. To deny the opportunity to any of our daughters or sons solely on the basis of who they are, and who they love, is to deny them the chance to live up to their own God-given potential.
Throughout our history as our nation has become even more dedicated to the protection of liberty and justice for all, more open to the kind contributions of all our citizens, it has also become stronger. More competitive. More ready for the future. It benefits every American when we continue on that path.
I know that many in our country still try to reconcile the teachings of their religion, the pull of their conscience, the personal experiences they have in their families and communities. People have good will and good faith will continue to view this issue differently.
So I hope as we discuss and debate, whether it’s around a kitchen table or in the public square, we do so in a spirit of respect and understanding. Conversations with our friends, our families, our congregations, our co-workers are opportunities to share our own reflections and to invite others to share theirs.
They give us a chance to find a common ground and a path forward.
For those of us who lived through the long years of the civil rights, and women’s rights, movements, the speed in which more and more people have come to embrace the dignity and equality of LGBT Americans has been breath-taking and inspiring. We see it all around us everyday in major cultural statements and in quiet family moments.
But the journey is far from over and therefore we must keep working to make our country freer and fairer, and to continue to inspire the faith the world puts in our leadership. In doing so we will keep moving closer and closer to that more perfect union promised to us all. Thank you.