June 10, 2014 by Maureen McCarty, HRC Associate Director of Digital Media
Today Hillary Clinton’s much-anticipated memoir Hard Choices will hit bookstores. The New York Times has already praised the book as a "a subtle, finely calibrated work that provides a portrait of the former secretary of state and former first lady as a heavy-duty policy wonk."
Hillary closes Hard Choices with a rousing call to action to complete what she calls the “unfinished business” of advancing equality and opportunity for marginalized people everywhere, especially women and girls, religious and ethnic minorities, and LGBT people.
As a longtime friend of the LGBT community, Hillary brought her deep convictions about equality to the job of Secretary of State at a time when the climate for LGBT people was deteriorating in many parts of the world.
At the State Department, she quickly extended the full range of legally available benefits and allowances to same-sex domestic partners of U.S. diplomats serving abroad, made it easier for Americans to change the sex listed on their passport, and made it possible for same-sex couples to obtain passports under the names recognized by their state through their marriage or civil union. And to support the antibullying movement started by Dan Savage, she recorded an “It Gets Better” video that went viral.
But all that was just a prelude to her historic statement in December 2011 at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva that, “gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights,” echoing her famous declaration about women’s rights in Beijing in 1995. Hillary’s speech put gay rights on the international agenda and put the world on notice that America will stand up for the rights of LGBT people wherever they are threatened.
“Wherever you live and whatever the circumstances of your life, whether you are connected to a network of support or feel isolated and vulnerable, please know that you are not alone,” Hillary said, “you have an ally in the United States of America and you have millions of friends among the American people.”
Watch the video -- it will give you goose bumps – and so will her moving description in Hard Choices of how the speech was born. This is American leadership at its best.
In March 2013, shortly after leaving the State Department, Hillary followed up on this legacy by announcing her support for same-sex marriage in an exclusive video with the Human Rights Campaign.
“LGBT Americans are our colleagues, our teachers, our soldiers, our friends, our loved ones,” Hillary said. “They are full and equal citizens and deserve the rights of citizenship.”
That’s the spirit that runs through Hillary’s entire life and it’s what makes Hard Choices a can’t-miss book for all of us who care so much about equality. Read it, share it, love it.