The Washington Times - March 18, 2013, 01:46PM

The White House applauded former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Monday announcement that she now backs gay marriage as Washington filled with talk that the move could signal Mrs. Clinton’s intention to run for president in 2016.

“The president believes that any time a public official of stature steps forward to embrace a commitment that he shares to equality for LGBT Americans, he thinks it’s a good thing,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Monday, noting that he hadn’t talked with President Obama specifically about Mrs. Clinton’s announcement.

SEE RELATED: Eyeing the W.H. in 2016? Hillary Clinton announces: I support gay marriage

“I know that that’s what he feels in general when major figures in our society make their views known,” Mr. Carney continued. “And it’s testimony to how far this country and how quickly this country has traveled, as he has said.”

In a five-minute video released by the Human Rights Campaign on Monday morning, Mrs. Clinton says gays are “full and equal citizens and deserve the rights of citizenship. That includes gay marriage.”

Former President Bill Clinton laid the groundwork for the announcement by coming out in support of gay marriage earlier this month. In the video, Mrs. Clinton said she supports same-sex marriage “personally and as a matter of policy and law.”

Her views on gay marriage now are similar to other potential Democratic White House candidates, including Vice President Joseph R. Biden, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.