In a long interview with Kerry Eleveld about the role Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has played in bringing LGBT equality to the forefront at home and around the world, we learn that, unfortunately, as much good as she’s been doing, she’s somehow still not willing to take the plunge and support full equality. This is less of a criticism than a friendly encouragement, because Hillary really is so good on so many issues. Eleveld describes a gay pride celebration held at the State Department last summer:
Displaying an uncanny depth of understanding for the challenges that many LGBT youth experience, Clinton spoke of tragedies that would only come to national attention months later after a spate of heart-wrenching teen suicides dominated headlines for weeks. She called on the staff members before her to help create a safe space for gays and lesbians everywhere, “Particularly young people, particularly teenagers who still, today, have such a difficult time and who, still, in numbers far beyond what should ever happen, take their own lives rather than live that life.”
Men and women around the world were being “harassed, beaten, subjected to sexual violence, even killed, because of who they are and whom they love,” she said.
“This is a human rights issue,” Clinton told the rapt audience. She ad-libbed, recalling an oft-quoted line from a landmark speech on women’s rights at a U.N. conference in China: “Just as I was very proud to say the obvious more than 15 years ago in Beijing—that human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights—well, let me say today that human rights are gay rights, and gay rights are human rights, once and for all.”
Marriage seemed like the place to start, since Clinton had been caught off guard by a recent inquiry on the issue while visiting Australia. Her husband has said that he now supports full marriage equality: Many of his gay friends are in committed relationships, former president Bill Clinton said in 2009. As far as marriage goes, he said, he had just been “hung up about the word.”
Did she share his experience? I wondered. Was she at odds with President Barack Obama’s stated position in support of civil unions but against marriage equality?
But on the phone, Clinton is circumspect about her husband’s comments. “Well, I share his experience because we obviously share a lot of the same friends, but I have not changed my position,” she says without elaborating. The secretary wasn’t taking any political bait, nor was she going to tangle with anything that could figure negatively for her boss.
But I’m going to make a prediction here: both the President and the Secretary will be on record supporting marriage equality soon after the 2012 elections. Cowardly, yes. But such is politics…
Jeremy Hooper’s prediction is a bit different:
So it’s pretty much official: Hillary Clinton wants to run for President in 2016.