March 18, 2013

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, considered a top Democratic contender for the 2016 presidential race, formally announced her support for same-sex marriage in a statement today, a move that was widely anticipated after she stepped down from the Obama administration.

In her announcement, which she made directly in a video with the Human Rights Campaign, Clinton argues that gays and lesbians are "full and equal citizens and deserve the rights of citizenship."

"That includes marriage," she said in the video. "That's why I support marriage for lesbian and gay couples. I support it personally and as a matter of policy and law."

Clinton follows a number of Democrats -- including President Obama, her husband and former President Bill Clinton, and Vice President Joe Biden -- as well as more recently, Republican Senator Rob Portman, (R-Ohio), in formally endorsing same-sex marriage.

Clinton has long supported civil unions between same-sex couples, and supported the 2011 law that legalized same-sex marriage in New York State. But she cited her experiences traveling the globe as secretary of state, as well as her own daughter's wedding a few years ago, as key to her process.

"Like so many others my personal views have been shaped over time by people I have known and loved," she said. "To deny the opportunity [for marriage] to any of our daughters and sons solely on the basis of who they are and who they love is to deny them the chance to live up to their own god-given potential."

According to an ABC News-Washington Post survey released this afternoon, support for same-sex marriage has hit an all-time high, with 58 percent of Americans saying gays and lesbians should be able to legally marry.

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