Same-Sex Marriage | 2016 Democratic Presidential Candidates

What do the Democratic Candidates Believe About Same-Sex Marriage / Civil Unions?

Y= for N= against


Hillary Clinton: GM=Y / CU=Y

Hillary Clinton has a new position on same-sex marriage

Clinton’s low-key start to her campaign 02:52


Washington (CNN)As recently as a year ago, Hillary Clinton was sparring with a public radio host about her position on same-sex marriage, defending her past reticence to discuss the issue and falling well short of full-throated support. Now, in a markedly new position, Clinton is offering just that, calling gay marriage a right afforded by the Constitution.


Clinton opposed same-sex marriage as a candidate for the Senate, while in office as a senator, and while running for president in 2008. She expressed her support for civil unions starting in 2000 and for the rights’ of states to set their own laws in favor of same-sex marriage in 2006.


Hillary Clinton’s Changing Views on Gay Marriage

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s views on same-sex marriage have evolved in the almost 20 years since her husband, Bill Clinton, then the president, signed the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, saying that he had “long opposed governmental recognition of same-gender marriages.” This week Mrs. Clinton, who is running for president, said she hoped that same-sex marriage became a constitutional right *.


1996: “My preference is that we do all we can to strengthen traditional marriages, and that the people engaged in parenting children be committed to one another and to the child. We also have to be realistic and know there are others who can do a good job, as well, of raising children,” Mrs. Clinton told The San Francisco Examiner.


2000: “Marriage has got historic, religious and moral content that goes back to the beginning of time, and I think a marriage is as a marriage has always been, between a man and a woman,” Mrs. Clinton said while running for the Senate in New York.


2003: “Well, marriage means something different. You know, marriage has a meaning that I think should be kept as it historically has been, but I see no reason whatsoever why people in committed relationships can’t have many of the same rights and the same respect for their unions that they are seeking, and I would like to see that be more accepted than it is,” Mrs. Clinton speaking to WNYC on the difference between gay marriage and civil unions.


2003: “I am, you know, for many reasons. I think that the vast majority of Americans find that to be something they can’t agree with. But I think most Americans are fair. And if they believe that people in committed relationships want to share their lives and, not only that, have the same rights that I do in my marriage, to decide who I want to inherit my property or visit me in a hospital, I think that most Americans would think that that’s fair and that should be done,” Mrs. Clinton, in an interview with CBS, on whether she still opposed same-sex marriage.


2006: “My position is consistent. I support states making the decision. I think that Chuck Schumer would say the same thing. And if anyone ever tried to use our words in any way, we’ll review that. Because I think that it should be in the political process and people make a decision and if our governor and our Legislature support marriage in New York, I’m not going to be against that,” Mrs. Clinton telling Gay City News that she would not block legislation supporting gay marriage in New York.


2007: “I am very much in favor of civil unions with full equality of benefits,” Mrs. Clinton told Ellen DeGeneres, explaining that she still believed the decision should be left to states.


2013: “L.G.B.T. Americans are our colleagues, our teachers, our soldiers, our friends, our loved ones, and they are full and equal citizens and deserve the rights of citizenship. That includes marriage,” Mrs. Clinton said in a video released by Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights advocacy group.


2014: “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 had I fully endorsed the efforts by activists to work state by state. And in fact that is what is working,” Mrs. Clinton said in an interview with NPR.


2015: “Hillary Clinton supports marriage equality and * hopes the Supreme Court will come down on the side of same-sex couples being guaranteed that constitutional right,” Adrienne Elrod, a spokeswoman for Hillary for America, said while Mrs. Clinton was campaigning for the presidency in Iowa…


More History:

I re-evaluated & changed my mind on gay marriage. (Jun 2014)

We have all evolved on gay marriage since 1990s. (Jun 2014)

DOMA discrimination holds us back from a more perfect union. (Jun 2013)

I support gay marriage personally and as law. (Mar 2013)

Telling kids about gay couples is parental discretion. (Sep 2007)

Positive about civil unions, with full equality of benefits. (Aug 2007)

Let states decide gay marriage; they’re ahead of feds. (Aug 2007)

GLBT progress since 2000, when I marched in gay pride parade. (Aug 2007)

Supports DOMA, which Bill Clinton signed. (Jul 2007)

Don’t ask don’t tell was an important transition step. (Jun 2007)

2004:defended traditional marriage; 2006:voted for same-sex. (May 2007)

Federal Marriage Amendment would be terrible step backwards. (Oct 2006)

Gay soldiers need to shoot straight, not be straight. (Nov 2003)

End hate crimes and other intolerance. (Sep 2000)

Gays deserve domestic partnership benefits. (Feb 2000)

Military service based on conduct, not sexual orientation. (Dec 1999)


Full Quotes:

Bernie Sanders GM=Y CU=Y

By all measures, Sanders was ahead of his time in supporting gay rights. In 1983, as mayor of Burlington, he signed a Gay Pride Day proclamation calling it a civil rights issue. He was one of just 67 members in the House of Representatives to vote against the Defense of Marriage Act, a politically tough decision he prides himself on and points to as a key progressive bona fide. Sanders opposed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in 1993, another President Bill Clinton-era policy, and supported civil unions in Vermont in 2000.


Vermont was a pioneer in enacting laws giving gay couples legal recognition, beginning with a history-making statute in 2000 permitting civil unions and the nation’s first marriage law passed without a court order in 2009. Gay marriage is now legal in 36 states…


In Vermont, Sanders supported the state’s 2000 civil unions law and the 2009 law legalizing gay marriage.



Quotes from his own Twitter page:

“Every Republican candidate for president is against gay marriage. I have supported same-sex marriage and voted against Clinton’s Defense of Marriage Act. You can’t claim to support equality and not support equal rights.”


“Incredibly, today in many states, it is still legal to fire someone for being gay. That is unacceptable and must change.”


“Many of my Republican colleagues talk about family values. Their values are that our gay brothers and sisters should not be able to get married, or enjoy all of the benefits of American citizenship. I disagree.”


“Of course all citizens deserve equal rights. It’s time for the Supreme Court to catch up to the American people and legalize gay marriage.”

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