Nightly News   |  March 18, 2013

Hillary Clinton’s gay marriage stance sparks 2016 rumors

Hillary Clinton’s announcement that she supports gay marriage is now fueling speculation that she might run for president again in 2016. NBC’s Kristen Welker reports.

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>>> hillary clinton getting attention tonight, though it wasn't totally unexpected. she now says she supports same-sex marriage. this comes just days after a prominent republican senator made the very same announcement, surprising his own party. i'll report on all of it tonight from nbc's christine welker in washington.

>> reporter: the former secretary of state declared her support of same-sex marriage on a website of a gay advocacy group .

>> i supported it personally and as a matter of policy and law.

>> reporter: it's a view that has evolved. here's her answer to a question of tim russer in 2004 .

>> i do not support gay marriage .

>> reporter: a statement she made during her 2008 presidential campaign. but while making a stake on political issues, she expanded benefits for same-sex domestic partners working at the state department and today asserted --

>> gay rights are human rights . a few years ago, bill and i celebrated as our own daughter married the love of her life, and i wish every parent that same joy.

>> reporter: mrs. clinton's announcement comes a week after the supreme court accepted a challenge to the federal marriage act , a law that describes marriage between a woman and a man. and she urged the court to overturn the law, which bill clinton signed in 1996 . in 2004 , only 40% of people supported same-sex marriage. the wall street journal poll in 2012 showed a majority in favor.

>> the world has transformed itself on this issue, including the political world .

>>> on sunday, rob portman came out in favor of same-sex marriage.

>> i now believe people have the right to get married.

>> reporter: a position most of his party opposed, but republicans launched a $10 million effort to reach minority voters.

>> we want to build our party, and we want to do it with bold strokes.

>> reporter: now, president obama has also changed his position, announcing his support of same-sex marriage last year, and a new poll just today shows 58% of americans agree. brian?

>> kristin welker at the white house for us tonight. kristin,