The former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has officially announced her support for equal marriage in a moving speech in which she calls moves towards equality “breathtaking and inspiring”.
In the video for the Human rights Campaign, Mrs Clinton reflects on four years of “tough conversations” with world leaders reluctant to accept LGBT rights, says said she has “pride” in the US and its ideals, and goes on to share what she learned.
Speaking of “dignity”, “pride”, and “liberty”, Mrs Clinton, who for a long time has been believed to be in support of equal marriage, but who had not yet officially stated her stance, speaks of the US “teaching” other nations to “protect LGBT citizens”.
She says: “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’s 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.”
She acknowledges the need to find “common ground”, and encourages an ongoing dialogue on the issue, conceding that not everyone will share the same views on issues such as equal marriage.
She concludes that the journey towards equality is “far from over”, and says “we must keep working harder to make this country freer and fairer”.
The full speech by Mrs Clinton is available below:
A little over a year ago in Geneva, I told the world that gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights. And that the United States would be a leader in defending those rights.
Now there were some countries that did not want to hear that, but I believe America is at its best when we champion the freedom and dignity of every human being. That’s who we are. It’s in our DNA.
As Secretary of State I had the privilege 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’s what was in my mind as I engaged in some pretty tough conversations with foreign leaders who did not accept that human rights applied to everyone, gay and straight.
When I directed our diplomats around the world to combat repressive laws, and reach out to the brave activists fighting on the front lines. 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 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 here at home. That means investing in our people, our economy, our national security.
It also means working every day 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’s 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 representing our nation on the world stage, my devoltion to law and human rights, and the guiding principals 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 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.
Throughout out history, as our nation has become even more dedicated to the protection of liberty and justice for all, more open to the contribution of all our citizens. It has also become stronger, more competitive more ready for the futre. It benefits every American when we continue on that path.
I know that many in our country still struggle to reconcile the teachings of their religion, the pull of their conscience, the personal experiences they have in their families and communities. And people of good will and good faith will continue to view this issue differently.
So I hope that 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 coworkers, are opportunities to share our own reflections, and to invite others to share theirs.
They give us a chance to find that 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 with which more and more people have come to embrace the dignity and equality of LGBT Americans has been breathtaking and inspiring.
We see it all around us every day 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.