Bigotry blows. Reason rules. Compassion’s cool. That’s why former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s reasoned and compassionate stand against bigotry today is awesome.
This morning Clinton released a video through the Human Rights Campaign declaring her support for gay marriage. This is a huge and great step beyond her original support of just civil unions. Clinton said, “I support it [gay marriage] 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.”
“LGBT Americans are our colleagues, our teachers, our soldiers, our friends and our loved ones, and they are full and equal citizens and deserve the rights of citizenship. That includes marriage,” says Clinton in the video, here.
Clinton joins a growing list of high-profile politicians–her husband, her ex-boss, and Republican Senator Rob Portman (whose stance PFAW President Michael B. Keegan calls (a position of basic decency and empathy) to name a few–in accepting that governmentally supported bigotry is wrong.
The former Secretary of State, former First Lady, and former (and probably future) Presidential candidate had previously decreed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, hailed New York’s gay marriage movement (without supporting it federally,) and called for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (a disgusting Act brilliantly titled by Conservative spin doctors, bravo guys, bravo.) The Washington Post has an article where they outline the evolution of Clinton’s stance on gay marriage. They point out that in 2007 “Clinton reaffirmed her opposition to gay marriage but tried to cast it in a less negative light. ‘I prefer to think of it as being very positive about civil unions,'” which is either an affirmation that people can change and grow, or a grim reminder of the nature of politics.
Politicians are politicians and politicians are in the business of creating acceptance for themselves, not creating acceptance for their citizens. Previously Hillary may not have gone full-throttle with her support of gay rights because it’s tough to please everyone. Don’t forget, bigots can vote too.
Regardless of the dichotomy between politics and doing what’s right (and between the act of doing what’s right in the name of politics, or doing politics in the name of what’s right,) Hillary has done what’s right, and that’s a great thing.
Whenever an announcement like this comes out, I like to think of the troubled gay teen having trouble with self-acceptance, hearing this message and feeling just a little bit better about him or herself., something I spoke about with Jesse Tyler Ferguson last year.
Government doesn’t need to be involved in marriage–the federal government could just give everyone civil unions affording the rights that marriage currently affords and leave the symbol of marriage to religious institutions and ship captains or whatever–but it is, and as long as it involves itself, it must provide it to everyone, equally.
Hillary’s stance is a huge step towards where we need to go, but it will require some major societal shifts before homosexuality is accepted as the normal and healthy thing that it is.
Image via Human Rights Campaign.