Although she has yet to formally announce her candidacy, Hillary Clinton has already garnered her first 2016 presidential endorsement by an LGBT-rights organization. Equality California announced their endorsement of Clinton for president on Monday, making the 800,000 member organization the first LGBT-rights group to endorse Clinton’s anticipated candidacy.
“We want Hillary Clinton to run and are ready to mobilize our 800,000 members to help her win,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur in a statement. “We’re enthusiastic about her candidacy because she has the best record of accomplishment on LGBT issues of any potential candidate. Equality California is ready for Hillary!”
According to the organization, the endorsement of Clinton comes in light of her record on LGBT rights as first lady, senator from New York, and secretary of state.
“While serving as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton made her support for the LGBT community abundantly clear when she said ‘gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.’ Although she has yet to formally announce her candidacy, we unequivocally believe that she is not only the most qualified candidate, but also the best candidate to advance LGBT rights,” Zbur said. “With this unequivocal support of her presidential bid, EQCA decided to take the unusual step to extend an early endorsement of Sec. Clinton to urge her to enter the presidential race. Along with our endorsement, we’re gearing up to fully support her candidacy for president by activating our members to mobilize around her campaign.”
Clinton is reportedly preparing to announce her candidacy for president in April and has seen near universal support among Democrats for her expected bid for president. The Ready for Hillary super PAC, which was formed in January 2013 with the express purpose of urging Hillary Clinton to run for president in 2016, has held several LGBT-specific fundraisers.
Although Clinton has proven popular among the LGBT community, she has faced criticism for the timing of her endorsement of marriage equality. In March 2013, shortly after leaving her post as secretary of State, Clinton endorsed same-sex marriage in a video published by the Human Rights Campaign. Her announcement came 10 days after Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, penned a column for The Washington Post calling on the Supreme Court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, which he signed into law as president in 1996.
But during a June interview with NPR, Clinton defended her decision not to announcer her support sooner and denied that she hid her support for marriage equality for political gain. “When I was ready to say what I said, I said it,” Clinton stated. Most notably, Clinton also said she believes marriage should be left up to the states and expressed her support for state-by-state efforts to secure marriage equality, a position that contradicts the majority of marriage-equality advocates who believe a national resolution must come from the Supreme Court.
Even though the Supreme Court is expected to rule on nationwide marriage equality later this year, with oral arguments scheduled for April, Clinton has yet to clarify whether she believes states should determine whether same-sex couples are allowed to marry.
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