Hillary Irked by NPR Host's Persistent Gay Marriage Questioning

Thursday, 12 Jun 2014 05:40 PM

By Lisa Degnen

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Things got tense when Hillary Clinton appeared on an NPR talk show Thursday and appeared to hedge on questions about when she started supporting the right to gay marriage.

The former first lady was doing an interview with NPR's Terry Gross when the conversation turned a bit heated.

Gross asked Clinton to explain if and when she changed her mind on gay marriage or was it a political calculation to not speak out on the issue earlier.

"I think that, as I said — just as the president has said — just because you're a politician doesn't mean you're not a thinking human being. You gather information, you think through positions, you're not one hundred percent set, thank goodness, you're constantly re-evaluating where you stand," Clinton said.

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Story continues below audio.



"For me, marriage has always been a matter left to the states and in many of the conversations that I and my colleagues and supporters had, I fully endorse the efforts by activists to work state-by-state. And in fact, that is what is working and I think that being in the position that I was in the Senate, fighting employment discrimination, which we still have some ways to go, was appropriate at that time."

She added that when she was secretary of State, she fought for the LGBT community.

But things got testy when, despite Clinton's explanation that her views have evolved in recent years, Gross shot back that many people supported gay marriage in the '90s and then said:

"I'm pretty sure you didn't answer my question about whether you evolved or it was the American public that changed."

"Because I said I'm an American so of course we all evolved and I think that's a fair conclusion," Clinton shot back.

Gross continued to push her on the issue until Clinton appeared to be done with the conversation.

"You know I really, I have to say, I think you are being very persistent, but you are playing with my words and playing with what is such an important issue," Clinton said.

"I'm just trying to clarify so I can understand," Gross said in return.

"No, I don't think you are trying to clarify," Hillary then snapped. "I think you are trying to say that I used to be opposed and now I am in favor and I did it for political reasons. And that's just flat wrong.

"I did not grow up even imagining gay marriage and I don't think you probably did either. This was an incredibly new and important idea that people on the front lines of the gay rights movement began to talk about and slowly, but surely, convinced others of the rightness of that position. When I was ready to say what I said, I said it."

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