What New Clinton Emails Reveal about Gay Rights Issues at State
Some are focusing on the more juicy revelations the latest trove of Clinton emails has to offer. For example, how, according to a quipping Gail Collins, Hillary Clinton:
• Misspelled “Benghazi.”
• Urged John Podesta to wear socks to bed.
• Debated whether her playlist should include something from the Marvelettes.
• Tutored an aide on how to use a fax.
Jackie Kucinich at the Daily Beast, however, digs into some of the less earthshaking aspects of Clinton’s emails, revealing her position on issues important to some of us.
Kucinich points out how, as secretary of state, Hillary fought to make LGBT people part of her department’s mission and how, according to the newly released emails, “she was dedicated to expanding gay rights both domestically and abroad from the beginning of her term.”
Starting in 2009 and “culminating in her 2011 United Nations speech declaring, ‘Gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights,’” the emails “offer a look at how Clinton and her staff began to make LGBT individuals part of their mission,” according to Kucinich.
Kucinich cites emails showing how Clinton “evolved” on gay marriage, albeit one year slower than President Obama did; extended benefits to the same-sex partners of diplomats; was concerned about brutal treatment of and laws passed against gays in the Middle East and Africa.
Kucinich admits that outside the State Department “Clinton was not always seen as a leader in the fight for gay rights” and mentions the 2014 NPR interview where Hillary’s answers on her “evolution” on gay marriage “puzzled many advocates.”:
“So, for me, marriage had always been a matter left to the states,” Clinton said. “And in many of the conversations that I and my colleagues and supporters had, I fully endorse the efforts by activists who work state by state, and in fact that is what is working.”
“I know her heart, but it is terrible framing,” Hilary Rosen, an advocate for LGBT rights and Clinton ally told The Huffington Post at the time. “Since this is going to the Supreme Court potentially on that question, I was surprised at her ‘old school’ framing of that. Since she has ‘evolved,’ why not just get rid of that old red herring, too?”
Still, to those who worked and advocated at the State Department for LGBT rights, the moves in 2009 set the tone for a very pro-LGBT State Department.
“I know she advanced things for LGBT State Department employees, but her impact was much greater in terms of setting a global policy agenda,” Socarides told The Daily Beast. “We have never had a champion before in this arena.”