Hillary Clinton praised the Supreme Court decision to guarantee same-sex marriages on Friday night and forcefully condemned the Republicans’ response to the ruling, warning the GOP presidential field not to turn LGBT issues into a “political football for this 2016 campaign.”
“It was an emotional roller coaster of a day, Clinton said. “This morning, love triumphed in the highest court in our land. Equality triumphed, and America triumphed.”
“Instead of trying to turn back the clock,” Clinton continued, Republicans “should be joining us in saying no to discrimination once and for all.”
Clinton’s comments on Friday evening were her first public remarks in the wake of Friday’s Supreme Court ruling that the Constitution guarantees the right for same-sex couples to marry. Her campaign issued a statement Friday in support of the decision and touted it on social media.
Nearly all the Republican presidential hopefuls have criticized the Supreme Court’s decision, with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker calling it a “grave mistake” and Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee naming the Supreme Court “an imperial court.” The Republicans have said the issue should be decided by the states, and several called for a constitutional amendment.
Among the general electorate, the issue of gay marriage favors the Democrats: nearly 60% of Americans support same-sex marriage, a count that has grown rapidly in recent years. It is likely to be a boon for Democrats in a general election.
Clinton called Friday’s Supreme Court decision a ruling that reinforced American values. “Today was not about discovering new rights—it was about getting closer to the ideals that have defined our nation from the very beginning,” she said.
Much of the former secretary of state’s address was a preview of what her stump speech in a general election might sound like. Clinton ticked off a list of issues that she said made the Republicans sounds like the “party of the past,” including gun control, immigration reform, same-sex marriage and the Affordable Care Act.
She praised the Supreme Court for upholding the Obamacare subsidies in states with federal-run exchanges, and called on all states to accept funding for Medicaid expansion.
The Supreme Court ruled Friday that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage, bringing an end to a patchwork of marriage laws across the U.S. and decades of activism pushing for marriage equality.
Friday was Clinton’s first stop of her presidential election campaign in Virginia, a purple state that Barack Obama won in 2008 and 2012. It will be a key state for Clinton in the 2016 election if she wins the Democratic nomination, one that she will likely need to defeat a Republican opponent.
Virginia’s governor, Terry McAuliffe is a close ally of the Clintons and will be a key player for her in the state. McAuliffe introduced Clinton with an effusive speech, calling her a “tenacious fighter.”
“You know why else I love this woman? She’s been beaten up, she’s been knocked down, but every time she does she gets right back up,” said McAuliffe, echoing an oft-repeated theme of Clinton’s campaign stump speech.
McAuliffe, who vacations with the Clintons, told the crowd when he’s traveling with them and wants a pre-dinner cocktail, “I don’t go looking for Bill Clinton: I go looking for Hillary Clinton, because she’s a lot more fun than him.”