Politics & Policy

Hillary Clinton Invites Ted Cruz to Gay-Pride Parade

(Scott Eisen/Getty)

Hillary Clinton ridiculed her Republican opponents during a Saturday speech before America’s preeminent gay-rights organization, poking fun at Ben Carson’s views on gay marriage and inviting Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) to a gay-pride parade.

“Ted Cruz slammed a political opponent for marching in a pride parade. He clearly has no idea what he’s missing,” she told board members and staff of the D.C.-based Human Rights Campaign. “Pride parades are so much fun! I was marching in them when I was First Lady. You should join us sometimes, senator. Come on!”

Clinton spoke in a crowded ballroom at D.C.’s ritzy Mayflower hotel, where gay-rights activists hooted and hollered as she ran through the laundry list of this year’s victories. “It felt like all of America was dancing in the streets this June,” she said, referencing the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down state laws forbidding gay marriage. “And that’s because of you . . . you helped change a lot of minds, including mine. And I personally am very grateful for that.”

#related#Like President Obama, Hillary Clinton’s position on gay marriage “evolved” over the years. She opposed it as First Lady, during her time in the Senate, and as secretary of state. But with public opinion shifting rapidly, she came out in favor of the policy in 2013.

Despite the Supreme Court win, Clinton warned the delegates that “marriage equality” remained under threat. “The next president could get three Supreme Court appointments,” she said. “We could lose the Supreme Court.”

Clinton singled out a couple of other GOP candidates for criticism in addition to Cruz. Though not mentioning Mike Huckabee by name, she excoriated the former Arkansas governor for “celebrating a county clerk who is breaking the law” — a reference to Rowan County,​ Ky.,​ clerk Kim Davis’s refusal to provide marriage licenses for gay couples — drawing hisses from the audience.

She also made fun of Ben Carson’s views on homosexuality. “Ben Carson says marriage equality caused the fall of the Roman Empire,” she deadpanned, shrugging as the audience laughed and applauded.

Clinton’s Saturday morning speech before gay-rights activists checks an important box for her campaign. The Democratic presidential front-runner had been asked to give the keynote address at the group’s annual dinner later this evening, but refused the invite in order to appear on Saturday Night Live.

#share#That speech will now be delivered by Vice President Joe Biden, who has flirted with challenging Clinton for the Democratic nomination for months. Biden came out for gay marriage in 2012 — one year before Hillary Clinton, and before even President Obama announced his support. Biden’s public endorsement of gay marriage is widely thought to have pushed President Obama to also back the policy a few weeks later.

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