By Julie Pace and Ken Thomas Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced her support for gay marriage Monday, putting her in line with other potential Democratic presidential candidates on a social issue that is rapidly gaining public approval.
Clinton made the announcement in an online video released Monday morning by the gay rights advocacy group Human Rights Campaign. She says in the five-minute video that gays and lesbians are “full and equal citizens and deserve the rights of citizenship.”
“That includes marriage,” she says, adding that she backs gay marriage both “personally and as a matter of policy and law.”
Clinton’s announcement is certain to further fuel the already rampant speculation that she is considering another run for president in 2016. Other possible Democratic contenders — including Vice President Joe Biden, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley — all back the right of same-sex couples to marry.
Polls show that public opinion on gay marriage has shifted perhaps more rapidly than on any other major issue in recent times. In Gallup polling last November, 53 percent of adult Americans said same-sex marriages should be granted the same status as traditional marriages, while 46 percent felt they should not be valid.
In 1996, when Gallup first asked about gay marriages, 27 percent felt they should be valid.