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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 17, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 16
Hillary Clinton announces candidacy, courts LGBT voters
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Hillary Clinton announces candidacy, courts LGBT voters

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Hillary Clinton's long-expected announcement that she is running for president was accompanied by clear efforts to reach out to LGBT voters.

In the April 12 video in which she finally announced 'I'm running for president,' the former Senator and Secretary of State featured a Gay couple planning to be married, Nathan Johnson and Jared Milrad.

Johnson and Milrad said they did not know when they made the video that it would be used in Clinton's announcement.

'We were really excited to see that our interview was featured in the campaign announcement,' Milrad told the Washington Blade.

'It was particularly moving to see Secretary Clinton feature a gay couple engaged to be legally married, the first of any major presidential candidate. To us, this decision demonstrates Secretary Clinton's commitment to LGBT equality and the type of inclusive leader she would be as president.'

The couple, who split their votes between Clinton and Barack Obama back in 2008, have invited Clinton to their July 19 wedding.

Clinton's announcement also features an African American couple expecting a child and an Asian American woman, along with white working class voters who made up the core of her support when she ran for - but lost - the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.

Only at the end of the two-minute video did Clinton herself appear.

'Everyday Americans need a champion. And I want to be that champion,' she said. 'So I'm hitting the road to earn your vote - because it's your time. And I hope you'll join me on this journey.'

Calls for Supreme Court to rule in favor of marriage equality
On April 15, Clinton updated her position on same-sex marriage, letting her campaign announce for the first time that she wants the U.S. Supreme Court to establish a nationwide rule in favor of marriage equality.

'Hillary Clinton supports marriage equality and hopes the Supreme Court will come down on the side of same-sex couples being guaranteed that constitutional right,' said campaign spokesperson Adrienne Elrod in a BuzzFeed interview.

Clinton came out in favor of same-sex marriage in 2013, but said then that she thought individual states had the right to make laws governing marriage.

Gay campaign manager
Clinton has also hired an out Gay man as her campaign manager.

Robby Mook comes to the Clinton campaign after running the successful 2013 gubernatorial campaign of Clinton ally Terry McAuliffe in Virginia.

Although he is only 35, Mook's political experience goes back almost two decades. At 16, he organized Clinton-Gore phone banks in his native New Hampshire. At 23, he ran Howard Dean's presidential campaign in New Hampshire. At 27, he was responsible for three key victories in Hillary Clinton's unsuccessful campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

'I'd Bottom for Hillary'
Clinton's announcement was greeted with enthusiasm - and also humor - by many LGBT potential voters.

Immediately after Clinton's April 12 announcement, a Gay man in San Francisco, who identified himself only as 'Ryan,' launched the 'Bottom for Hillary' campaign on Instagram.

The idea was to offer 'a fun way for LGBT citizens to show their support for Hillary Clinton,' Ryan told the Huffington Post. 'Politics is a serious topic, but that doesn't mean you have to be serious in showing your support!'

'I am supporting Hillary because she is a boss that gets shit done,' Ryan added.

'Bottoming demands trust, admiration, confidence, loyalty, respect, enthusiasm and hope. Those feelings we have toward Hillary, and anyone that feels similar can be a part of our effort.'

Record as Secretary of State
Although she was by no means the first national figure to endorse same-sex marriage or speak up for LGBT rights, Clinton is no stranger to the issues. As Secretary of State, Clinton made an international name for herself as a critic of countries that persecute their LGBT residents.

In 2011, she made a landmark speech to the U.N. human rights summit in Geneva, warning member states not to dismiss LGBT rights as a cultural idiosyncrasy of the West.

'Some seem to believe it is a western phenomenon and therefore people outside the west have grounds to reject it,' she said.

'Well, in reality gay people are born into and belong to every society in the world. They are all ages, all races, all faiths, they are doctors and teachers, farmers and bankers, soldiers and athletes.

'Whether we know it, whether we acknowledge it, they are our family, our friends and our neighbors. Being gay is not a western invention, it is a human reality.'

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