Hillary Clinton backs same-sex marriage

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came out in support of same-sex marriage on Monday.

In a video posted on the website of the Human Rights Campaign, a pro-gay rights advocacy group, Clinton, a possible White House contender in 2016, says she supports same-sex marriage rights both personally and in terms of policy.


"LGBT Americans are our colleagues, our soldiers, our friends, our loved ones," Clinton said in the video released Monday. "And they are full and equal citizens and deserve the rights of citizenship. 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 said her views on same-sex marriage have changed over time.

"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. "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 that same joy. To deny the opportunity to any of our daughters and 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," she continued.

Clinton’s announcement comes as the Supreme Court prepares to hear a suit challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. (DOMA). The federal law defines marriage as the union between one man and one woman.

Clinton was first lady when her husband then-President Bill Clinton signed DOMA into law. Since then, the former president has changed his views, recently publishing an editorial arguing that the law should be overturned.

Polls show increasing public support for gay marriage and a number of high-profile Democrats and Republicans in recent months have announced their backing for same-sex marriage.

Last week, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) also said he now supports same-sex marriage. Portman cited his son, who is gay, as a reason for his change.

In 2012 President Obama became the first sitting president to back gay marriage.

White House press secretary Jay Carney was unaware if Clinton gave Obama a heads up on the matter. But he didn't expect that she did because she's a "private citizen" and "her views are in concert with the president's.

Carney at his Monday briefing said Obama believes that any time a public official of stature supports gay marriage, "he thinks it's a good thing" and a testimony to how far this country has traveled on the issue.

Clinton is widely seen as a favorite to win the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 2016 if she chooses to run.

This story was updated at 12:38 p.m.