Earlier this month, Hillary Clinton made headlines when she finally announced that she would be running for President in the 2016 election. The former Secretary of State was widely regarded as the only possible presidential candidate for the Democratic party due to her long career in politics and her name recognition – few candidates on either the Democratic or Republican side are as well-known.
Many also believe that Hillary has a strong chance of winning. Despite the recent controversy surrounding her decision to use her personal email address to send out confidential emails (rather than her official government email), her stance on women’s rights (she is a huge supporter of them) and immigration (she supports the path to citizenship for illegal immigrants) makes her a hit with women and people of colour; two important demos that Republicans have mostly offended and failed to appeal to thus far.
She also stands a strong chance of winning the majority of the LGBT vote too. Clinton has been an outspoken advocate for LGBT rights for several years and a statement from her campaign spokesperson Adrienne Elrod explained that:
Hillary Clinton supports marriage equality and hopes the Supreme Court will come down on the side of same-sex couples being guaranteed that constitutional right.”
Clinton’s statement comes as the Supreme Court gears up for a monumental ruling on marriage equality, regarding the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit to uphold same-sex marriage bans in the states of Ohio, Tennessee, Michigan and Kentucky. The Supreme Court will be deciding whether the United States Constitution requires a state to issue marriage license of two people of the same sex and if a state is required to recognise a same-sex marriage if their marriage was (lawfully) licensed in a different state. Essentially, a ruling in favour of marriage equality here would make it legal across the entire United States and would make it illegal for states to try and ban same-sex marriage, as several have tried to do already.
The statement from Clinton is also important as it was previously unclear just what her stance on marriage equality was. Back in 2008, Clinton along with then-Senator Barack Obama, both agreed that although same-sex couples should be able to have civil partnerships, neither of them supported same-sex marriage. The stance seemed unsurprising at the time given that her husband Bill Clinton introduced the restrictive Defense of Marriage Act during his presidency (although he later said that he regretted it) and LGBT rights were significantly less popular in 2008 as they are now. And, although Clinton has spoken in favour of LGBT rights, just last year she said that marriage equality should be left up to the states to decide.
Unfortunately, Clinton hasn’t revealed what has led to her change of heart. Many will chalk it down to the fact that it would reflect badly on her if she didn’t support LGBT rights wholeheartedly, given that President Obama has issued many statements (and some executive orders) both supporting and protecting LGBT rights. However, regardless of her reasoning, her position on marriage equality should be seen as a good thing.