Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Hillary Clinton talks on gay marriage

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton told a group of gay elected officials she would support a gay marriage law in New York if a future governor and legislature chose to enact one, according to three participants at the meeting.

Mrs. Clinton listened and spoke for more than an hour with the three-dozen officials from New York, as they sat down — by coincidence — a couple of hours after the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that gay couples were entitled to the same legal rights and financial benefits as heterosexual couples.

Some gay officials have been disappointed with her opposition to gay marriage (though she supports civil unions), but they said it was a warm, constructive meeting.

They said that Mrs. Clinton admitted to publicly supporting the federal Defense of Marriage Act as a strategic decision to help derail a constitutional amendment that banned gay marriage. And they said she supported the thrust of the New Jersey court ruling because she believes that states and legislatures should decide the issue of gay marriage, not the courts or the federal government.

She also said that it wasn’t fair that the gay partner of a late congressman from Massachusetts, Gerry Studds, wasn’t receiving his benefits.

The meeting was purportedly closed to the media, but those involved agreed to invite select reporters from the city’s gay press and allow them to cover the event. Some members of the New York media consider this a breach of protocol for coverage of private, newsworthy events involving a United States senator. Events are usually open to all reporters, or closed to all reporters, unless a reporter is given special access for a profile of Hillary or such — i.e., not this kind of thing.

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