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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

LGBTQ rights in the race for president

Humans of New York, the popular photoblog by Brandon Stanton, posted a picture July 3 of a young boy sitting on a stoop with the caption, “I’m homosexual and I’m afraid about what my future will be and that people won’t like it.” The photoblog, which garners impressive social media attention, spiked after 2016 presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton dropped in with some kind words and her signature “-H.”

Her comment, which read, “Prediction from a grown-up: Your future is going to be amazing. You will surprise yourself with what you’re capable of and the incredible things you go on to do. Find the people who love and believe in you—there will be lots of them. -H,” resonated with a deluge of positive comments from others, including Ellen DeGeneres who commented, “Not only will people like you, they’ll love you. I just heard of you and I love you already.”

In commenting, Clinton made what many criticized to be a calculated move to garner support for her campaign. With the landmark June 26 ruling, Americans increasingly support marriage equality and equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer-identifying folks. In providing support to a young gay kid, Clinton made a move that will undoubtedly help her campaign; that it may have been calculated should not be criticized, but instead lauded.

While Clinton doesn’t have a track record of supporting marriage equality and LGBTQ rights that dates to antiquity (Hello, DOMA) her support is there, and that matters. And while her support may have come as late as 2013, with her previously concluding that marriage was strictly between a man and a woman and rooted in deep historical context, merely stepping up to the plate and accepting a now commonly held opinion isn’t evil or questionable, it’s just smart.

In 2011, two years before she formally announced her support for marriage equality in a very uncomfortable, eye contact-laden video, Clinton gave a powerful speech at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. The highlight of the speech, and also the most relevant portion, is this: “Being LGBT does not make you less human. And that is why gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.”

In June of last year, Clinton sat down with NPR’s “Fresh Air” host and co-executive producer Terry Gross. Gross, a relentless yet tactful interviewer, made a point to question Clinton’s “evolution” on the issue of marriage equality.

Prompting Clinton, perhaps in the hopes of jumbling her up, Gross asked, “What’s it like when you’re in office and you have to do all these political calculations to not be able to support something like gay marriage that you actually believe in?” striking at the confusion many hold regarding her perceived flip-flopping on marriage equality.

Clinton responded adroitly, noting that the nature of being human includes the freedom to change opinions. “I think that, as I said, just as the president has said, you know, just because you’re a politician doesn’t mean you’re not a thinking human being. And you gather information. You think through positions. You’re not 100 percent set, thank goodness. You’re constantly reevaluating where you stand.”

This reevaluation is an adept and talented interpretation of the way politics should be, and it’s no secret that the Clintons are in-tune with how to play politics; an Atlantic article quipped that the Clintons test-poll where to vacation. She’s listening to the people, her constituents, and adapting her views to suit what the majority wants.

The fact of the matter is that Americans overwhelmingly support marriage equality and, in smaller percentages, overturning all of the discriminatory legislation that currently infringes on the human rights of the LGBTQ community. Supporting marriage equality and equality in general is no longer a radical gesture of political liberalness and progress but instead an almost-mandated statement of not being a bigoted, unchanging cyborg.

Don’t criticize Clinton for reevaluating her stance as it becomes less and less popular to go against it; laud her for embracing a majority opinion that she has, admittedly, done some work to help. If anyone wants to be taken seriously, by millennial voters especially, they’ll need to adapt and reevaluate, and she’s at least making an effort that might be a trump card during primaries.

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Nick Havey is a junior studying physiology and Spanish. Follow him on Twitter.

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