Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton released a video with the Human Rights Campaign in which she explicilty supports marriage equality for the first time in her long career. She specifically 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.”
While Clinton’s support for marriage equality is commendable, it comes after her departure from public office. While running as New York senator and as president, she opposed marriage equality – insisting that she wasn’t anti-gay marriage, but strongly “pro civil unions.”
Clinton is in a long, long, long line of political figures who have come out in support of gay marriage or marriage equality, when it no longer matters. Clinton’s husband, President Bill Clinton also gave his support, despite his signing of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell as well as DOMA; Former First Lady Laura Bush threw her support behind marriage equality years after her husband’s presidency, which was marked by his push for a federal amendment to ban gay marriage; former Secretary of State Colin Powell also gave support for marriage equality after leaving office; Ken Mehlman was chair of the RNC, and supported the Republican Party’s anti-marriage equality stance, until years after the Bush administration when he came out as gay himself.
So even though it’s great that Hillary Clinton has come out in support of gay marriage, it’s not all that impactful, nor is it all that brave.