US presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton delivered the keynote address on Friday at a luncheon of more than 400 board members, staff and supporters of the Human Rights Campaign, which claims to be the US’s largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights organisation.
The move was seen as an attempt to appeal to LGBT voters, but Clinton was criticised for keeping the speech low-key by not publicising it before-hand. When asked by The Associated Press why this was the case, she replied that “You’ll have to ask my campaign.” Clinton has not yet taken a clear stand on LGBTI issues on anational platform.
In the speech, Clinton praised the failure of a recent bill which aimed to constitutionally ban same-sex marriage. She also said that, “We’re going to make sure that nothing stands in the way of loving couples, gay or straight, who want to adopt children.”
Clinton confirmed that she was opposed to the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which bans gay people from serving in the military – a law which was introduced by her husband. “This policy doesn’t just hurt gays and lesbians, it hurts all our troops and this to me is a matter of national security and we’re going to fix it,” she said.
She added that that the HRC, “will always have an open door to the White House.”
The HRC said that it also extended invitations to other presidential candidates including former Senator John Edwards, Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. All three were unable to attend due to scheduling conflict, said the organisation.