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Hillary Gets Testy Defending Gay Marriage Record

2:15 PM, Jun 12, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
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NPR host Terry Gross pushed Hillary Clinton on her mixed record on same-sex marriage in a contentious exchange. Listen here:

Here's a transcript:

NPR’s TERRY GROSS: “So what’s it like when you’re in office and you have to do all these political calculations to not be able to support something like gay marriage, that you actually believe in. Obviously you feel very committed to human rights and you obviously put gay rights as part of human rights but in doing the calculus you decided you couldn’t support it. Correct me if I’m reading it wrong.”

HILLARY CLINTON: “I think you’re reading it very wrong. I think that, as I said – just as the President has said – just because you’re a politician doesn’t mean you’re not a thinking human being. You gather information, you think through positions, you’re not one hundred percent set, thank goodness, you’re constantly re-evaluating where you stand. That is true for me. We talked earlier about Iraq, for goodness sakes. So for me, marriage has always been a matter left to the states and in many of the conversations I and my colleagues and supporters had, I fully endorse the efforts by activists to work state-by-state. In fact, that is what is working and I think that being in the position that I was in the Senate, fighting employment discrimination which we still have some ways to go, was appropriate at that time. As Secretary of State, I was out of domestic politics and I was certainly doing all I could on the international scene to raise the importance of the human rights of the LGBT community. And then leaving that position, I was able to very quickly announce that I was fully in support of gay marriage and that it is now continuing to proceed state-by-state. I am very hopeful that we will make progress and see even more change and acceptance. One of my big problems right now is that too many people believe they have a direct line to the divine and they never want to change their mind about anything. They’re never open about new information and they like to operate in an evidence-free zone. I think it’s good if people continue to change.”

GROSS: “So you mention that you believe in state by state for gay marriage. But it’s a Supreme Court too. The Supreme Court struck down part of DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, which prevented the federal government from recognizing gay marriage. That part is now struck down. And DOMA was actually signed by your husband when he was president. In spite of the fact that he signed it, were you glad at this point that the Supreme Court struck some of it down?”

CLINTON: “Of course. And you know, again, lets…we are living at a time when this extraordinary change is occurring and I’m proud of our country, I’m proud of the people who have been on the front lines of advocacy, but in 1993, that was not the case. And there was a very concerted effort in the Congress to make it even more difficult and greater discrimination and what DOMA did is at least allow the States to act. It wasn’t going to yet be recognized by the federal government but at the state level there was the opportunity. And my husband was the first to say, that you know, the political circumstances, the threats that were trying to be alleviated by the passage of DOMA, thankfully, were no longer so preeminent and we could keep moving forward and that’s what we’re doing.”

GROSS: “So, just to clarify, just one more question on this, would you say your view evolved since the 90s or that the American public evolved allowing you to state your real view.”

CLINTON: “I think I’m an American, I think that we have all evolved, and it’s been one of the fastest, most sweeping transformations that I’m aware of.”

GROSS: “I understand but a lot of people believed in it already back in the nineties. They supported gay marriage.”

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