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Has Hillary Clinton Evolved on Marriage Equality Like Her Husband?


I posted a humorous interview last week of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her trip to Australia. Another interview she did took a more serious turn.

The marriage equality debate in Australia is really heating up at the moment. One young Australian asked her where she stands on the issue during a youth town hall.

Her answer, AFTER THE JUMP...

Bill Clinton: I Was Wrong About Gay Marriage [tr]

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  1. ...and the answer is "NO." (At least, not yet.)

    Posted by: Matthew Rettenmund | Nov 17, 2010 10:22:55 AM

  2. The cowardice and illogic continue . . . I'm against discrimination but not (publicly) for marriage equality, at least not until being for marriage equality comes with adequate political ass-coverage. I wish this question came with the required followup: Why should gay couples, equal taxpaying citizens, be excluded from civil marriage? Name your reasons, and articulate. We're waiting . . .

    Posted by: Ernie | Nov 17, 2010 10:38:20 AM

  3. This does not sound any different than what she has said previously. Obviously when politicians like her, or Obama, put themselves in one category, it isn't particularly easy to move into another without looking like you're pandering or flip flopping for political sake. Though you certainly could listen to what she says and think she is likely a supporter of repealing DOMA and while she may not personally support same sex marriage, she clearly supports states determining those issues on their own and likely would support federal recognition of those marriages in MA and other states. Then again, I think Obama would as well. Obviously until DOMA is repealed, which won't be happening anytime soon with the new Congress, this is a fairly moot point from both her and Obama's perspective. It is sad that if DOMA were repealed tomorrow, it is entirely likely that Obama (and Hillary) would both support extending federal benefits of marriage to couples in states where they can legally marry. Which is not worth much now but to me is really reflective of the differences in policy between Democrats and Republicans that I think is still important for gay people to consider. John McCain would not only not support the repeal of DOMA, he'd likely (as would most Republicans who might seek the White House in 2012) work against the repeal. And were a repeal to happen, they would likely pursue a continued policy of denying gay couples in states that allow marriage the federal benefits.

    At the end of the day, the two parties differences really don't make much of a practical difference to gays because the law still sucks.

    Posted by: Caleb | Nov 17, 2010 10:38:52 AM

  4. she should have just said "Tho the USA says Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness...Liberty & Justice for All'...we really don't mean them...they're just pretty words that make our country sound better then it actually is in reality'...does that answer your question"?

    Posted by: Disgusted American | Nov 17, 2010 10:44:12 AM

  5. Where is the evolution? Isn't this the same garbled message she has always given?

    Posted by: Bobo | Nov 17, 2010 10:44:25 AM

  6. Yeah, that would be a no. And this is clearly pandering. We need to keep insisting that our politicians quit treating us as second class.

    Posted by: Dan | Nov 17, 2010 10:50:08 AM

  7. I love that the question about mistreatment of indigenous people came after her ass backwards fumbling over marriage equality. It looks like in the future not only will we be considered equal, but we may even get an apology for any mistreatment - BUT only at such point where 80% of the voting public supports all of it.

    How uninspiring her 'leadership' is.

    Posted by: JP | Nov 17, 2010 10:54:21 AM

  8. Now do people still think things would be so different if she was the president?

    Posted by: Kevinvt | Nov 17, 2010 11:47:00 AM

  9. I don't think she's really allowed to distinguish herself from the president with regard to domestic political issues, especially while addressing foreigners abroad. I wouldn't read too much here into what Hillary thinks, but rather what Barack does.

    Her stance in 2007-2008 was clear: she never cited a religious or traditionalist impulse for why she advocated civil unions., but rather saw them as a more strategic means for endowing gay couples rights as quickly as possible without getting lost in the reeds on semantical debates about marriage.

    Even in the past two years, the gay marriage debate has evolved considerably. I would expect hillary's avowed views to have similarly evolved when she is no long SOS

    Posted by: TACOTACO | Nov 17, 2010 12:05:53 PM

  10. Wow, what a fierce advocate. NOT.

    Posted by: Andy | Nov 17, 2010 12:08:01 PM

  11. We are an ignorant, religiously hypocritical nation. We don't elect leaders, we elect politicians. You can't look to politicians to change policy, you need to look at yourself and your neighbors to make sure there is the WILL to change policy. We're a long way from that.

    Pressure anderson cooper to come out. The more out people there are the more "normal" it seems to folks on the right, the more difficult it will be to stay ignorant and biased.

    Pressure your neighbor to understand and support equality. Change a mind and you make a difference.

    But stop bashing leaders on the left who have a bigger agenda than gay rights. I'd much rather have mealy mouthed obama/clinton than the blatant ignorant and hateful folks on the right.

    Posted by: DMS | Nov 17, 2010 12:24:38 PM

  12. Its nearly the same position she took during the campaign.

    And its not a matter of if she'd do better - or more as president.

    Its a matter of which candidate was honest with us from the outset in acknowledging the political realities - and which one promised us everything but has delivered nothing.

    Frankly, I think we as a community would be a lot less frustrated if Hillary had won. Expectations would have been more measured. As for those who expect change now - well - that subset is going to be perenially disappointed regardless of who is President.

    Posted by: AERES | Nov 17, 2010 12:40:16 PM

  13. i remember why i didn't vote for her last time.

    just answer the fucking question

    are there ANY leaders left any more??

    Posted by: r | Nov 17, 2010 1:05:48 PM

  14. TacoTaco, way to do backflips for Hillary. She has the same position on marriage equality that Obama does. No different.

    Posted by: sugarrhill | Nov 17, 2010 1:39:17 PM

  15. She supports marriage equality, it is just a matter of time.

    Posted by: Thomas | Nov 17, 2010 1:56:27 PM

  16. Caleb, you argue for Democrats by correctly noting Republicans like McCain would work against DOMA repeal.

    Do you mean to insinuate Obama is not ALSO working against repeal of DOMA? Because he is. Obama has freely elected to use the power of his office to retain and sustain DOMA in California and Massachusetts courts that rightly found DOMA unconstitutional.

    What's the difference if McCain fights against our equality, or if Obama fights against our equality? Pretty words that mean nothing?

    Posted by: the greasybear | Nov 17, 2010 2:50:32 PM

  17. Sugarhill--obama stated he was for civil unions because back in 2007 because of religious reasons. Hillary said that she was for civil unions because she thought it was a better strategy to expand rights. I'm not doing backflips, just saying she can't "evolve" on the issue as bill and society has because she has to stay in line with administration and her boss given het position and the domestic political nature of the debate

    Posted by: TACOTACO | Nov 17, 2010 3:28:11 PM

  18. I could give a fuck one way or the other. Dawg had her shot in 2004, which would have arguably spared us four more years of the bush junta. She'll never run again. These pantsuits aren't very forgiving.

    Posted by: TANK | Nov 17, 2010 3:45:48 PM

  19. TacoTaco, I still call bullshit. Keep doing those backflips. It isn't because of Obama that she won't come out in support of marriage equality. She, like him, is a politician. They must straddle that line even though they both probably support marriage equality in private. You see how I did that- divine my own theory about her views and Obama's on marriage equality without actually focusing on her publicly stated views. Anyone can do it. Until she publicly states that's she's for it she's in the same camp as Obama. I know that's painful for some to accept, but it's true. The excuse you give her are just that excuses.

    Posted by: sugarrhill | Nov 17, 2010 4:28:35 PM

  20. TacoTaco, you can't just make stuff up and hope that the rest of us will believe they are true. You cite absolutely no evidence for your assertions, which are false and which Sugarhill was completely justified in calling you out on.

    (Allow me to note, btw, that I generally admire the Secretary of State and would consider supporting her in 2016 in the perhaps unlikely event that she decides to seek the presidency again, but that doesn't mean I'll just stand by while people project their own fantasies onto her in place of her actual record.)

    Allow me to actually cite some facts. I welcome you to do the same.

    "Marriage has got historic, religious and moral content that goes back to the beginning of time, and I think a marriage is as a marriage always has been, between a man and a woman." - Hillary Clinton, opposing same-sex marriages, quoted in The New York Daily News.

    Though not precisely on the topic of marriage and though she was forced to backtrack the following day after a public uproar, in 2007 when she was asked if homosexuality is immoral, she declined to respond: "Well I'm going to leave that to others to conclude."

    Perhaps you are confusing her with Governor Bill Richardson, who did indeed defend his opposition to marriage equality at a 2007 debate among the contenders for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination by saying, ""The country isn't there yet on gay marriage. We have to bring the country along."

    Or perhaps you are just like many of the Clintonistas who feel perfectly justified in presenting your own fantasies about Mrs. Clinton as reality.

    Posted by: Patric | Nov 17, 2010 4:29:23 PM

  21. Btw, as others have noted, the headline on this post is ridiculous. There is absolutely nothing in her words that suggests any movement in her public position on this topic, the fantasies of many notwithstanding.

    Posted by: Patric | Nov 17, 2010 4:31:21 PM

  22. Obama/Clinton--who cares? They are both hypocrites. She has the nerve to judge other people's marriages when hers has been a sham for decades? This is why I don't contribute to campaigns-I hate them both.

    Posted by: LAXJFK | Nov 17, 2010 6:35:39 PM

  23. "obama stated he was for civil unions because back in 2007 because of religious reasons. Hillary said that she was for civil unions because she thought it was a better strategy to expand rights."


    "What I'm saying is that strategically, I think we can get civil unions passed. I think we can get SB 101 passed. I think that to the extent that we can get the rights, I'm less concerned about the name. And I think that is my No. 1 priority, is an environment in which the Republicans are going to use a particular language that has all sorts of connotations in the broader culture as a wedge issue, to prevent us moving forward, in securing those rights, then I don't want to play their game."

    Barack Obama Windy City Times 2/11/2004

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Nov 17, 2010 6:54:49 PM

  24. And of course, Hillary has NEVER supported gay marriage.

    Barack Obama has.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Nov 17, 2010 6:56:55 PM

  25. my intention wasn't really to rehash the primary campaign.

    i will say that i was wrong in making a conjecture as to what hillary's state of mind is now or would be in the future. she said what she said in australia, and i should not assume that she thinks any differently than what she said she did. i also was not aware of that statement she made to the daily news that Patric posted. yikes! and thanks for the info

    the main point i was trying to make, in any case, is that i don't think any secretary of state is at liberty to diverge from the talking points explanation of a domestic policy view of the administration. so i wouldn't take what she said as what "hillary truly expressing herself" or what "hillary the political campaigner" would say. the context and boundaries of what she was saying were quite different from what her husband was saying.

    but i always appreciate an exchange of perspectives, and can definitely see how and why people might disagree with me on this :)

    Posted by: tacotaco | Nov 17, 2010 8:00:19 PM

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