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article imageNPR confronts Hillary Clinton over former gay marriage opposition

By Scott Tuttle     Jun 13, 2014 in Politics
In an interview with NPR's Terry Gross, former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton finds herself confronted with a part of her past she might rather forget, namely her former opposition to gay marriage.
The former Secretary of State, like many from her political party, consistently took a hard stance against marriage equality throughout her entire political career, and made no public statements supporting gay marriage until March 2013, after she had already resigned from the Obama Administration and active politics.
A year prior, President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden came out in favor of gay marriage after having previously opposed it as well.
As public opinion has rapidly shifted in favor of same-sex marriage in recent years, the question Gross persistently raised in her six-minute discussion with Ms. Clinton was whether she privately supported gay marriage at any point during her political career or if her opinion really did change.
“I think you are trying to say that, you know, I used to be opposed, and now I’m in favor, and I did it for political reasons,” said Clinton. “And that’s just flat wrong. ...you are playing with my words and playing with what is such an important issue.”
In defense of her former opposition to gay marriage, Ms. Clinton said “I did not grow up even imagining gay marriage, and I don’t think you did either.”
When Gross retorted by saying there were, in fact, many activists in support of marriage equality even back in the 90s, Clinton responded by saying “to be fair Terry, not that many.”
Perhaps the greatest monkey on Ms. Clinton's back is the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which was signed into law by her husband, former President Bill Clinton. This law barred all same-sex couples from being recognized anywhere in the United States as legally married.
During Ms. Clinton's 2000 senate campaign, she claimed she would have signed DOMA into law as well had she been the president, and was quoted in 2003 as saying she still maintained that position. These claims seem to refute the part of her interview in which she said she always believed the issue of whether or not to allow gay marriage should be left up to the states.
"For me, marriage had always been a matter left to the states. And in many of the conversations that I and my colleagues and supporters I had fully endorsed the efforts by activists to work state by state," said Clinton to Gross.
Clinton remains a Democratic party favorite for the 2016 presidential election with a favorability rating of 52%, according to a Bloomberg National Poll. This figure has declined from 56% in March, and was as high as 70% in December 2012.
More about Hillary clinton, NPR, Gay marriage, terry gross
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