Hillary Clinton put Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Ben Carson on blast earlier today, mocking their stance on LGBT rights.
Clinton stood in the grand ballroom at D.C.’s Mayflower Hotel, speaking to the Human Rights Campaign during their annual gathering. During the opening of her speech, Clinton joked about the fact that she and the LGBT rights organization shared the same initials.
“It is great to be back with the other HRC… there’s no one else I’d rather share my initials with.”
The Human Rights Organization, who worked tirelessly to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states, produced a video for Clinton in March of 2013, in which she announced her support for the cause.
Clinton’s first target was Ben Carson, whom Clinton stated believed that “marriage equality is what caused the fall of the Roman empire.” This comment was met with laughter from the crowd, but something a bit harsher from Carson’s camp. Carson campaign spokesman Doug Watts returned fire by stating that if Clinton “isn’t lying, she’s spinning!”
“Hillary would have everyone believe she’s been in favor of marriage equality since the fall of the Roman Empire,” he remarked.
When Clinton mentioned Cruz, the audience erupted in boos. Clinton announced that Cruz had slammed a political opponent for marching in a gay pride parade.
“He clearly has no idea what he’s missing,” Clinton added. “Pride parades are so much fun. I was marching in them back when I was first lady. You should join sometime Senator, come on!”
Cruz’s campaign was contacted by ABC News for comment, but did not respond.
Clinton took on a more serious tone as she addressed the group regarding young Americans who may still be treated “harshly,” even by their families. She also remarked on the military’s stance on transgender members serving openly.
“We need to say with one voice that transgender people are valued, loved, and one of us. Transgender people are still banned from serving. That is an outdated rule – especially since you and I know that there are transgender people in uniform right now. They’re just keeping this core part of their identities under wraps because they are so committed to defending our nation. They shouldn’t have to do that. That’s why I support the policy review that Defense Secretary Carter recently announced at the Pentagon. And it’s why I hope the United States joins many other countries that let transgender people serve openly.”
Clinton’s views on same-sex marriage used to differ greatly, and she credits the Human Rights Campaign for contributing to the evolution of her beliefs.
“It felt like all of America was dancing in the streets this June,” she stated, citing this summer’s victory of the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down state laws forbidding gay marriage. “And that’s because of you. The people here today deserve a lot of credit for making it happen. You’ve helped change a lot of minds, including mine, and I am personally very grateful for that.”
Clinton did, however, warn her audience that their efforts were far from over. She pointed out that if any of these candidates were elected and followed through with their agenda, they could undo what progress has already been made. Marriage equality could be threatened once again, because these candidates, if elected, could “get three Supreme Court appointments.”
“If any one of them heaven forbid were ever to be elected president, they will do their best to threaten you and their families,” she pleaded. “Every single Republican candidate for president is against marriage equality. Every one of them. Many of them are against anti-discrimination laws. Many are against same-sex couples adopting.”
Clinton concluded her speech by stating she is “just getting warmed up” in her battle for equal rights.
“That’s a promise, from one HRC to another.”
[Featured Video by CBS]