U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday that the New York state legislature's vote to approve same-sex marriage was "historic" and upheld the basic rights of gay people.
Clinton, speaking at an internal gay pride celebration at the State Department, said it was the first such event "following the historic vote in New York, which I think gives such visibility and credibility to everything that so many of you have done over so many years."
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the same-sex marriage bill into law on Friday, making it the sixth and most populous U.S. state to allow gay marriage and giving gay rights advocates a significant victory ahead of 2012 presidential and congressional elections.
Clinton, who has repeatedly said she is "out of politics" as the top U.S. diplomat, did not explicitly condone gay marriage -- something President Barack Obama has also avoided despite moves by his administration to improve protection of gay rights in other areas.
But she did make clear that the Obama administration planned to keep pushing for gay rights both at home and abroad.
"So far as the United States is concerned and our foreign policy, and our values ... gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights," Clinton told the gay foreign affairs workers.
As a presidential candidate in 2008 Clinton opposed same-sex marriage but did support civil partnerships for gays.
Since becoming secretary of state she has taken a stronger role as a gay rights advocate, and in 2009 oversaw the extension of equal benefits to same-sex partners of State Department employees.
Clinton said U.S. diplomats were working to advance gay rights around the world, including at the U.N. Human Rights Council which recently passed the first ever U.N. resolution recognizing the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people worldwide.
(Reporting by Andrew Quinn; Editing by Paul Simao)
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