6 Reasons for Hillary Clinton's Gay-Marriage Move

Jill Lawrence
National Journal

Sometimes a video is just a video.

I vowed in print (in pixels?) about six weeks ago that I would not write about the odds of a Hillary Clinton presidential candidacy for six months. So here are six reasons for the timing of her Human Rights Campaign video in support of gay marriage that have nothing to do with a White House bid.

1. As reported by National Journal’s Elahe Izadi, Clinton wanted her voice out there before the Supreme Court weighs the issue later this month.

2. Views and laws on gay marriage have evolved rapidly in the past few years. Clinton’s 2008 campaign was not the right time for her to make a stand on gay marriage.

3. As secretary of State for four years, Clinton was the top U.S. envoy to ultraconservative nations where, in some cases, homosexuality is punishable by death. It would have been inappropriate and destructive for her to announce support for gay marriage during her tenure.

4. Clinton didn’t want to get out ahead of her husband. The former president signed the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act that, for the purposes of federal and state recognition, limited the definition of marriage to a man and a woman. He did not publicly announce a change of heart until earlier this month, when he said in a Washington Post op-ed that he now believes the law is discriminatory and incompatible with the Constitution.

5. Clinton didn’t want to fall too far behind Rob Portman. The Republican senator from Ohio disclosed Friday that he has a gay son and that he now backs same-sex marriage. That puts him in the forefront of an issue that is rapidly gaining support among young Americans but is still anathema to most GOP conservatives.

6. It’s so long until the next presidential election, and such an obvious cause for Clinton to champion, that she didn’t think anybody would interpret this as positioning for a potential campaign.