Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton held on Saturday the first major speech of her 2016 campaign for the White House, taking the opportunity to call for banning discrimination against LGBT people.
Although the former secretary of state in April confirmed her candidacy for the Democratic nomination in a video announcement, her speech on New York City’s Roosevelt Island was considered the official launch for her campaign.
“America can’t succeed unless you succeed,” Clinton said. “That is why I am running for President of the United States. Here, on Roosevelt Island, I believe we have a continuing rendezvous with destiny, each American and the country we cherish.”
Ahead of an expected ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court this month on the whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry across the country, Clinton made ending discrimination against LGBT community in marriage and areas part of her vision for the country.
“In America, every family should feel like they belong,” Clinton said. “So we should offer hard-working, law-abiding immigrant families a path to citizenship. Not second-class status. And, we should ban discrimination against LGBT Americans and their families so they can live, learn, marry, and work just like everybody else.”
Among the other commitments that Clinton made during the speech was rewriting the tax code, facilitating the growth of renewable energy, making preschool available to every child and giving workers the right to sick paid leave.
Multiple times during her address, Clinton made references to the LGBT community. At one point, when recognizing the value of business leaders, Clinton made reference those who want equal pay for women and “no discrimination against the LGBT community either.”
Clinton also took a jab on LGBT issues at Republican presidential candidates, who are uniformly in opposition to gay nuptials.
“They want to put immigrants, who work hard and pay taxes, at risk of deportation, and they turn their backs on gay people who love each other,” Clinton said.
As a 67-year-old female, Clinton is unlike other candidates who’ve thrown the hats into the ring for election to the White House — a point to which she jokingly made reference during her remarks.
“I may not be the youngest candidate in this race,” Clinton said. “But I will be the youngest woman President in the history of the United States! And the first grandmother as well. And one additional advantage: You’re won’t see my hair turn white in the White House. I’ve been coloring it for years!”
Accompanying Clinton on stage after her speech was her spouse, former President Bill Clinton, and her daughter, Chelsea Clinton.
Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said on Twitter after the speech that he agreed with Clinton the LGBT community should build on the marriage victory to address other areas of discrimination.
Concluding her speech, Clinton invoked the memory of her late mother, whom she she said instilled within her the capacity to stand up against bullies and push back on barriers.
“I wish she could have seen the America we’re going to build together,” Clinton said. “An America, where if you do your part, you reap the rewards. Where we don’t leave anyone out, or anyone behind. An America where a father can tell his daughter: Yes, you can be anything you want to be. Even President of the United States.”
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