The Philadelphia Gay News published a long interview with Hillary Clinton yesterday. Some highlights:
PGN: I assume that you and President Clinton have gay friends. Can you give me your impression of one of those couples that you socialize with, without giving any names?
Hillary Clinton: Oh my gosh. There are so many of them. I know that Mark [Walsh, Clinton’s national director of LGBT outreach] is on the phone. Let me say this, we don’t get to socialize a lot. But when we do, it’s usually at a big event where we get to see people and spend time with them. This is something I want to do more of as soon as I finish this presidential campaign. It’s sort of hard to pick out people. We go to some events in Washington and New York. I’ve got friends, literally, around the country that I’m close to. It’s part of my life.
PGN: How would you respond to those friends if they asked you why they can’t get married?
HC: What I say is that marriage is in the province of the state, which has actually turned out to be lucky for us, because we didn’t have to get beaten on the Federal Marriage Amendment because we could make, among other arguments, that it was such a stretch for the federal government and it was wrong to enshrine discrimination in the Constitution. And that states are really beginning seriously to deal with the whole range of options, including marriage, both under their own state constitutions and under the legislative approach. I anticipate that there will be a very concerted amount of effort in the next couple of years that will move this important issue forward and different states will take different approaches as they did with marriage over many years and you will see an evolution over time.
PGN: What will you do to improve the immigration policy for same-sex couples?
HC: I think that that’s one of the biggest problems that we’ve got to contend with. Even states that have civil unions, domestic partnerships or even marriage laws are running into roadblocks with the federal government when it comes to federal benefits and privileges. Of course, immigration is a federal responsibility and I am going to do everything I can to eliminate any disparities in any benefits or rights under our law at the federal level so that all people will have available to them every right as an American citizen that they should, and that would include immigration law.
PGN: In states like New Jersey and Massachusetts and others that have passed domestic-partner bills or civil-union bills, one of the major roadblocks they find is the federal tax codes or joint filings for IRS returns. What could we do about that?
HC: That’s one of the laws we have to change. I will have a comprehensive review, and I think a lot of that work has already been done, to look at everything that is discriminatory in the tax code or in any other aspect of federal law. And we will try to eliminate all of that discrimination. I think we will have a good argument, ironically, because I think we can say, look, the states are making determinations about extending rights to same-sex couples in various forms and the federal government should recognize that and should extend the same access to federal benefits across the board. I will very much work to achieve that.