Looks like Democratic Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton is choosing to make her support of gay rights one of the major issues she’ll be campaigning for in the upcoming election.
While her opponent Bernie Sanders is focusing on income inequality, one payer health care system, and climate change, the former opposer of gay marriage is now going for the easier route of advocating for gay rights now that gay marriage is legal in the U.S.
Hillary Rodham Clinton on Saturday delivered the strongest speech in support of gay rights in the 2016 presidential race on Saturday, promising that ending discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender people would be a central pillar of her administration.
“I see the injustices and the dangers that you and your families still face,” she told hundreds of gay activists at the annual meeting of the Human Rights Campaign. “I’m running for president to stand up for the fundamental rights of LGBT Americans.”
She added: “That’s a promise from one HRC to another.”
The statement marked a remarkable evolution for Clinton, who opposed same-sex marriage for more than two decades in public life as first lady, senator and presidential candidate. As recently as this year, Clinton said that while she personally supported gay marriage, the issue was best left for states to decide —a position held by most of the Republican presidential field.
Since then, Clinton has placed equal rights at the forefront of her campaign, in part a reflection of the growing political and financial strength of the gay community in Democratic politics.
Vice President Joe Biden, who is considering a 2016 run, gave the keynote address to the group’s star-studded dinner, where he called transgender rights “the civil rights issue of our time” and issued the Obama administration’s most unequivocal statement of support to date for allowing transgender people to serve openly in the U.S military. As he spoke to the crowd of 3,000, he was interrupted by a loud shout of “You should run.”
“There’s homophobes still left. Most of them are running for president,” Biden said, in a pointed jab at the Republican White House hopefuls.
Clinton, in her appearance, said she has been “fighting alongside you and others for equal rights and I’m just getting warmed up.”
As activists chanted her name, she promised to work to pass legislation that would end discrimination, lower costs for HIV treatment and stop funding child welfare agencies that discriminate against gay parents.
She committed to pushing equal rights in the military, including for transgender people.
Clinton’s remarks, particularly on the transgender issue, were some of the strongest in the presidential campaign. “We need to say with one voice that transgender people are valued,” she said. “They are loved and they are us.”
This summer, her campaign jumped on the Supreme Court’s watershed same-sex marriage decision, changing Clinton’s red campaign logo to a rainbow colored H, releasing a video of gay wedding ceremonies and sending supportive tweets.
Clinton said Saturday that the court’s decision could be overturned, should a Republican win the White House next year and appoint conservative justices.