Former President Bill Clinton, who in 1996 signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law, has announced his support for marriage equality, joining the campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in New York state.
In a statement released by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) on Thursday, Clinton — who opposed gay marriage while in the White House — said he has in recent years shifted his views:
Our nation’s permanent mission is to form a ‘more perfect union’ – deepening the meaning of freedom, broadening the reach of opportunity, strengthening the bonds of community. That mission has inspired and empowered us to extend rights to people previously denied them. Every time we have done that, it has strengthened our nation. Now we should do it again, in New York, with marriage equality.
For more than a century, our Statue of Liberty has welcomed all kinds of people from all over the world yearning to be free. In the 21st century, I believe New York’s welcome must include marriage equality.
Clinton’s endorsement comes as a record 58 percent of New Yorkers support legalizing gay marriage.
“There is enormous momentum right now all across the state for marriage equality,” said Joe Solmonese, HRC President. “We are grateful to President Clinton for adding his voice to the mainstream majority who support loving couples getting married in New York.”
The campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in New York comes with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and is being led by a coalition of LGBT advocacy groups, including the Empire State Pride Agenda, Freedom to Marry, Human Rights Campaign, Marriage Equality New York, and Log Cabin Republicans.
“I want to be the governor who signs the law that makes equality a reality in the state of New York,” Cuomo told attendees at an Empire State Pride Agenda event in October.
Earlier this year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told The Advocate that she had not changed her position on marriage equality.