Hillary Clinton Gay Marriage Controversy Surfaces In Interview

Robert Jonathan - Author

Jun. 14 2014, Updated 7:57 p.m. ET

For Hillary Clinton, the left-leaning National Public Radio should be friendly territory as she makes the media rounds on her book tour.

Things got somewhat contentious, however, when an NPR interviewer seemed to suggest the former Secretary of State and possible 2016 presidential contender for the Democrats may have flip-flopped on gay marriage.

Until recently, Hillary Clinton — like President Obama — publicly opposed same-sex marriage.

Clinton’s husband, former president Bill Clinton, signed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, and it was the law of the land until it was tossed out on a legal technicality by the US Supreme Court in June 2013. The Defense of Marriage Act effectively prohibited same-sex marriage at the federal level.

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According to the New York Daily News, “Clinton, in fact, was lauded during her tenure at the State Department for her support of LGBT issues in internal department personnel matters. But her public support of legalizing gay marriage came after years of providing unclear answers on the issue — in 2003, she told CBS News that she was against same-sex marriage, but supported same-sex civil unions — and only after several other prominent Democrats, including President Obama, Vice President Biden and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo came out in support of the issue.”

In a somewhat testy although civil exchange (embedded below), NPR Fresh Air host Terry Gross pressed Clinton several times on whether her current support for gay marriage was politically motivated or calculated.

Responded an apparently miffed Clinton at one point in the back and forth, “I have to say, I think you are being very persistent, but you are playing with my words and playing with what is such an important issue.”

When Gross replied that she was “just trying to clarify,” Clinton declared that “No, I don’t think you are trying to clarify. I think you’re trying to say I used to be opposed and now I’m in favor and I did it for political reasons, and that’s just flat wrong. So let me just state what I feel like you are implying and repudiate it.”

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In a detailed piece on the Hillary Clinton gay marriage issue, The Atlantic noted that Clinton opposed gay marriage when she ran for president in 2008 and held that view through 2013. “Hillary Clinton didn’t refrain from supporting same-sex marriage for political reasons — before last year, she earnestly believed that marriage equality should be denied to gays and lesbians. That’s the story the 66-year-old Democrat settled on when NPR host Terry Gross pressed her on her views … The mild tension stemmed from persistent questioning as Clinton obfuscated on an issue that could damage her chances in a 2016 primary but is relatively unlikely to hurt her in a contest against a Republican, given that her coalition is so much stronger on gay rights than the opposition. …”

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The Hillary Clinton memoir, Hard Choices, is receiving lackluster reviews even from liberal precincts, and she has encountered some surprising pushback on Benghazi and other issues from the usually supportive Big Media while on the tour.

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In a sit down with Diane Sawyer of ABC News, Hillary Clinton also raised a lot of eyebrows with the claim that she and her husband were “dead broke” when they left the White House at the end of the Clinton administration, even though they both had million-dollar book deals in their pocket. The couple is now worth an estimated $100 million to $200 million. In a separate appearance, she insisted that the five Taliban commanders controversially swapped for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl pose no threat to America, as if global communications wouldn’t permit terrorist planning from afar and as if our borders are secure from potential wrongdoers crossing into the country.

According to the Gallup poll, Hillary Clinton’s favorability has dropped to 54 percent (from 59 percent in February) and the lowest it has been since August 2008.


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