Hillary Clinton has become the first mainstream presidential candidate to give unwavering support to same-sex marriage as a constitutional right afforded to all Americans.
"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," campaign spokeswoman, Adrienne Elrod, said in a statement to BuzzFeed on Wednesday.
No other formidable major party candidate has articulated their support for same-sex marriage during their presidential campaign. Furthermore, this marks the first time ever that a presidential candidate has taken such a clear, direct stance in favor of marriage equality, excepting President Barack Obama, who said he supported marriage equality during his 2012 re-election campaign.
Politicians rarely take stands that are unpopular or that could cost them votes. Clinton's current stance, markedly different from her stance in 2008 when, like Obama, she opposed same-sex marriage in favor of civil unions, is a sign of the times. It is also a sign that the 67-year-old candidate is listening and can definitely keep up with those times.
Politicians should be able to "evolve." While some may mock Clinton, as they did Obama when he came out in support of marriage equality in 2012, her ability to "evolve" on this social issue indicates that she respects the American people, 60% of whom support same-sex marriage, according to a February 2015 poll. Besides which, a whopping 37 states have legalized same-sex marriage.
As a representative of the people, politicians should champion their constituents' values. Her support of same-sex marriage as a constitutional right not only reflects the basic role politicians play as democratic representatives of what the people want, but it reflects her own personal belief that the LGBT community is owed the same rights as straight people.
With the Supreme Court hearing what are likely its final cases on marriage equality beginning April 28, Clinton's pronouncement is a direct nudge at the court — because that's what elected representatives do.
As a presidential candidate contending for the first time that marriage is a "constitutional right," Clinton explicitly differentiates herself from her opponents (at least until she has a Democratic primary challenger) and proves that she, more than any other other candidate, really wants to be a champion for the people.
All the people.