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Marriage Equality Op-Ed by Ready for Hillary Chair Allida Black

Released March 19, 2013

MCLEAN, VA - Allida Black, Chair of Ready for Hillary, drafted the following op-ed after the release of Hillary's video about her support for LGBT rights and marriage equality:

When my partner and I married last April, we invited Hillary Clinton to attend our small ceremony. Alas, we couldn't change our date and Hillary had to be across the globe. But when Judy and I got home that night, after saying goodbye to family, friends and toastmaster Kirsten Gillibrand, a letter from the Secretary awaited us. Even though she was two continents away, she wanted to make sure we knew how happy she was that we married after twenty-one years. "At long last," her note began.

Yesterday the world got to see more of the woman I have known for more than two decades - the woman who is as loving as she is tough and wise.

Why I can say this so unequivocally? It's not just her letter. It's not just that I am a human rights historian and activist. It's not just that I have seen her in action on the ground, watched her press human rights in international arenas, or that I work with people whose lives she changed in ways most Americans cannot imagine.

It's not just the respect with which I have been treated, the welcoming hug she always gives Judy, or the support she has always given our love for one another. It's not just the tenderness she displayed when she learned my mother was dying - and the comfort her call gave my frightened mom. She must have been a great mother, Hillary said to a dying woman she had never met, to raise such daughter and welcome the love she found.

It's not just the respect and support she gave to LGBT people around the world and the support she gave LGBT couples who worked for our country at State and in embassies around the world - less than a month after she moved into her office at Foggy Bottom.

It's that Hillary understands what universal human rights means. She understands that love is precious, that people need to feel worthy to build communities grounded in respect, that fear and prejudice slaughter dreams, and that without dreams, visions cannot take root and democracy fades.

This is the reason that I spent almost seventy weekends traveling to fourteen states for Hillary in 2007 and 2008. It is why I helped found and chair the Ready for Hillary PAC and why I will work as hard as I can to assemble a coalition that mirrors the breadth of her heart and the scope of her vision. It is why I want her to be President of the United States.

Hillary does not make declarations lightly. She is a private, thoughtful woman. But when she does speak out, she does not retreat. Ask those diplomats who heard her proclaim in Geneva that "gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights." Ask women the world over how much she meant her declaration that "women's rights are human rights." Ask her staff how strong her commitment is. Ask friends who have needed her how she rearranged an overwhelming workload to offer stalwart support.

Hillary is not new to LGBT rights. She has been with us for a long, long time. Her declaration for marriage equality is just the latest example of her support.