Hillary Clinton has again hit out at rival Bernie Sanders for claiming that gay rights groups are part of the “establishment” for backing her.
Presidential hopeful Mrs Clinton has near-unanimously swept up endorsements from national LGBT organisations, many of whom point to her comprehensive manifesto of detailed LGBT policies.
Left-wing rival Bernie Sanders, who has not released an LGBT manifesto and lists just a few broad policy points, claimed the wave of endorsements for Clinton were “establishment” groups were rallying around the “establishment” candidate.
Speaking at a rally over the weekend, former Secretary of State Clinton again hit out at the Senator from Vermont for the claim.
When asked about her gay rights record by a Bernie supporter, she responded: “I, like many Americans, have evolved… and I’m glad I have.
“I am a 100% supporter and I am absolutely adamant about protecting marriage equality.
“I think it’s significant that the Human Rights Campaign, the leading organization in our country to ensure that the LGBT community has the rights they deserve, have endorsed me.
“Now your candidate said: ‘well, that’s because they’re a member of the establishment’.
“With all due respect, they fight against the establishment every single day. And I’ve been with them for years and I will pass the Equality Act too.”
Sanders has also previously claimed that Clinton had “insulted the entire gay community”, trumpeting his own record on equality.
Despite his strong historic record on LGBT rights in general, Sanders has previously been accused of trying to overstate his own specific record on equal marriage while laying into Clinton.
Records show he avoided taking a stance on marriage rights early on, instead advocating for same-sex civil unions.
One journalist noted of Sanders in 2000: “Obtaining Congressman Bernie Sanders’ position on the gay marriage issue was like pulling teeth from a rhinoceros”.
They added that he would only supply a “carefully crafted non-statement statement” on the issue – and he continued to avoid publicly backing equal marriage for several years.
Senator Sanders eventually confirmed his support for equal marriage in 2009, while Clinton was serving as Barack Obama’s Secretary of State. She backed equal marriage in 2013, soon after leaving the Obama administration.
In addition to the Human Rights Campaign, Clinton has won endorsements from the Lesbian Political Action Committee, Equality California, SC Equality Coalition and equal marriage plaintiff Jim Obergefell.