Does Clinton's Gay Marriage Support Matter?

Hillary Clinton announced she is in favor of allowing same-sex couples to wed.

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Hillary Clinton announced Monday in a video released by the Human Rights Campaign that she supports same-sex marriage. The former first lady, senator and secretary of state said in the six-minute video that her personal views have evolved on the topic, and she now believes gay couples have the right to marriage equality.

Clinton, a possible Democratic presidential candidate in 2016, said denying marriage "solely on the basis of who people are" denies them the chance "to live up to their own God-given potential."

[ See a collection of political cartoons on gay marriage.]

"LGBT Americans are our colleagues, our teachers, our soldiers, our friends, our loved ones," Clinton said in the video. "And they are full and equal citizens and deserve the rights of citizenship. That includes marriage. … I support it personally, and as matter of policy and law."

Clinton is the latest in a series of politicians to voice their opinions on the matter. President Barack Obama announced his support last year, and the Democratic Party platform now officially includes gay marriage. Obama also instructed the Justice Department to cease defending the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which restricts marriage to a between a man and a woman. The act, signed by former president Bill Clinton in 1996, will come before the Supreme Court next week. The former president recently recanted his support for the law, and now says it should be found unconstitutional.

[ Read the U.S. News Debate: Is the Democratic Party's Gay Marriage Platform Good Politics?]

Announcing her support for gay marriage also puts Clinton in line with other possible contenders for the Democratic nomination in 2016. Vice President Joe Biden announced his support last year, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley signed laws legalizing same-sex marriage in their states. Clinton has not formally announced a bid for the White House, but it is widely speculated that she will run.

The Republican Party has also been moving to support gay marriage, with several prominent Republicans signing a brief encouraging the Supreme Court to turn down California's ban on same-sex marriage. Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio announced last week that he now supports marriage equality after finding out that his son is gay. Portman is the first sitting Republican senator to make such an announcement publicly.

Public opinion in the United States has been gradually shifting in favor of gay marriage, with a Gallup poll in December finding 53 percent of Americans support marriage equality.

What do you think? Is Hillary Clinton's support of gay marriage significant? Take the poll and comment below.

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