Former first lady and potential 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton on Monday joined a growing list of Democrats — and some Republicans — voicing support for gay marriage.
Her video announcement, released Monday, comes as polls show Americans increasingly supportive of the right to same-sex marriage.
In November, 53 percent of Americans told Gallup that gay unions should have the same status as traditional marriages — almost double the 27 percent holding similar views in Gallup's 1996 poll.
"LGBT Americans are our colleagues, our teachers, our soldiers, our friends, our loved ones," Mrs. Clinton said, using the acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. "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."
The announcement, sure to fuel more speculation about a possible 2016 run for the White House, also comes a week before the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on two gay-marriage cases
One of the cases involves the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman. It was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and signed by then-President Bill Clinton.
Mr. Clinton first announced his support for gay marriage in July 2009. He has since been a vocal proponent, and earlier this month he asked the Supreme Court to overturn the act.
The high court will hear arguments March 27 on the Defense of Marriage Act and March 26 on Proposition 8, a voter-passed California law that only permits man-woman marriage in that state.
Mrs. Clinton, who recently stepped down as the Obama administration's secretary of state, said in her video, released by Human Rights Campaign, that if America wants to continue to lead the world, it must work on its own "long march to a more perfect union."
"To deny the opportunity to any of our daughters and sons, solely on the basis of who they are and who they love, is to deny them the chance to live up to their own God-given potential," Mrs. Clinton said, adding that she and Mr. Clinton attended the marriage of their daughter Chelsea to Marc Mezvinsky a few years ago. "I wish every parent that same joy," she said.
Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin praised Mrs. Clinton for joining countless Americans in reaching "the conclusion that we must treat others as we would like to be treated."
"It is the golden rule that is moving our country inexorably toward marriage for gay and lesbian couples," Mr. Griffin said.
Ryan T. Anderson, a scholar at the Heritage Foundation who studies gay marriage, said Mrs. Clinton's rhetorical arguments would also "fit" polyamorous marriage "or any other form of consenting, adult form of behavior."
What was missing in her video, Mr. Anderson said, was any serious discussion of the definition, purpose and consequences of marriage. Once the norm of marriage is undone, he added, "There's no reason why it should just be between two people, why it should be sexually exclusive rather than sexually open, and why it should be permanent rather than temporary."
Democratic political leaders, led by President Obama and including former President Jimmy Carter, overwhelmingly support gay marriage. "I personally think it is very fine for gay people to be married in civil ceremonies," Mr. Carter said in a 2012 interview.
Mr. Obama, who "evolved" on the issue, also publicly endorsed gay marriage in 2012.
Vice President Joseph R. Biden and former Vice President Al Gore support it, as well as hundreds of current or former national and state Democratic leaders.
Among Republicans, former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and former first lady Laura Bush are among the notables who have indicated their support for gay marriage. More than 100 Republicans have urged the Supreme Court to overturn laws blocking gay marriage.
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