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sHillary says she's 'evolved' on marriage equality

Last night, sHillary met with three-dozen LGBT leaders pulled together by the Greater Voices Coalition, and told those gathered that she had no problem with efforts by Eliot Spitzer, likely new governor of NY, to enact marriage equality in the state.

Gay City News covered the event, and Paul Schindler noted in his piece that once the pleasantries of introductions were over and the questions began, sHillary received the most grief over her past public positions and statements on marriage equality.

Doug Robinson, the co-president of the Out People of Color Political Action Club who with his partner of more than 20 years has raised two sons, spoke about the pressures his family faces in sending both to college without the benefits of marriage’s economic advantages. In what began as a strong challenge to Clinton, Robinson said, “We need your support on marriage, we need you to look at that.”

Yet, just as Robinson was about to yield the floor for Clinton’s response, he offered her a bit of wiggle room.
“Even if you say civil marriage isn’t as important as equal benefits, in my mind I don’t care what you call it,” he concluded. “But I need the same things that everyone does so I can sustain my family.”

How did she respond?

I believe in full equality of benefits, nothing left out,” she said. “From my perspective there is a greater likelihood of us getting to that point in civil unions or domestic partnerships and that is my very considered assessment.”

Is she coming around, or does she simply thinks that it’s safer to come out of the foxhole now? You decide. She appears to take the New Jersey Supreme Court’s point of view — how’s that for cover?

Allen Roskoff, the president of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, let her know that her she has been flat out against same-sex marriage, saying:

It was right after you said that you were against same-sex marriage on moral, religious, and traditional grounds and I found that incredibly hurtful.” He also criticized the senator for volunteering her support for the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, even if not asked, and for not speaking during the Senate marriage amendment debate in June regardless of the work she did behind the scenes.

Clinton offered Roskoff some consolation regarding her earlier characterizations of marriage’s history as an exclusively heterosexual institution, an argument that she made in an interview with this reporter as well during the 2000 campaign.

Obviously my friends and people who spoke to me-we’ve had many long conversations and I think-and which I believe-that the way that I have spoken and I have advocated has certainly evolved and I am happy to be educated and to learn as much as I can.”

I’m not sure what’s left to learn. Either you believe that gay couples should have the exact same benefits at the state and fed level as het couples or not.

Back in March, Al Gore, who also supported DOMA, came around on full equality at an HRC gala. (IN Los Angeles mag)

It is that love, after all, that is at the heart of why everybody is here. That is what must be honored and respected. Your right to fall in love with who you fall in love with. And your right to expect that that will be recognized with the same dignity and honor that love is recognized for other couples. Love is transcendent and fulfilling and powerful and any force on earth that endeavors to make you feel that you should be ashamed for feeling genuine, deep love for another of your choosing is a form of oppression.

…Much has been made of the second simple truth — the first being that love … that transcendent feeling is at the center of all the debates. The second simple fact is that — it’s been mentioned here — is that when your fellow Americans come to know you for who you are, everything changes. But the so-called Catch 22 that discrimination and oppression put you in, is that the law requires gays and lesbians in the military or in job settings where they have no protection or in other settings where discrimination is rampant — if the law and the culture of society requires you to be closed and secret and inauthentic and to pretend that you are not who you are, then you are not allowed to use your basic humanity to change the minds and hearts of those around you. You must have the right to be who you are, just as I have the right to be who I am.

As I was on the way here, I reflected on why is there so much controversy about the question of equality for gays and lesbians. Why? This fight has been so long and so hard for something that is so simple and so right.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding