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Hillary Clinton at HRC Event Pledges to Make LGBT Rights a Top Priority

The Democratic front-runner also vowed to upgrade the service records of LGBT members of the military who were dishonorably discharged.
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Hillary Clinton called on Congress to pass the Federal Equality Act and vowed to make LGBT rights a top priority as president in a speech Saturday to a prominent gay rights organization.

"I see the injustices and the dangers that you and your families still face and I'm running for president to end them once and for all," Clinton said at a Human Rights Campaign breakfast in Washington D.C.

Image: Democratic presidential candidate Clinton speaks to supporters at the Human Rights Campaign in Washington
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks to supporters at the Human Rights Campaign Breakfast in Washington on Oct. 3, 2015.JOSHUA ROBERTS / Reuters

The Democratic front-runner has had an evolving view on same-sex marriage and alluded to past stances in her remarks.

"You’ve helped change a lot of minds, including mine, and I am personally very grateful for that,” she said, adding that there’s no one she’d rather share her initials with than HRC.

Clinton pledged to upgrade the service records of LGBT members of the military who were dishonorably discharged, and promised to fight for the rights of the transgender community facing a “growing crisis” of violence. She called the current law banning transgender people from serving in the military “outdated.”

“We need to say in one voice that transgender people are valued. They are loved. They are us,” Clinton told the crowd of 800 grassroots leaders.

Clinton supports the Federal Equality Act, which would update the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to protect LGBT people.

The former secretary of state also called out Republican candidates Ben Carson and Ted Cruz for their positions on marriage equality.

"Ted Cruz slammed a political opponent for marching in a pride parade," Clinton said. "He clearly has no idea what he's missing.”

Those parades are “so much fun,” she added.

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Clinton also alluded to controversial Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis, though she did not mention her by name. She criticized public officials for “celebrating a county clerk who is breaking the law by denying other Americans their constitutional rights.”

Clinton said she thinks about LGBT rights every day on the campaign trail and is “just getting warmed up.”

HRC president Chad Griffin called Clinton a “true trailblazer and real champion for equality.” HRC has not endorsed a candidate in the 2016 election yet.

The organization was hoping Clinton might headline their national dinner Saturday, but a spokesperson said Clinton had a scheduling conflict. She’s set to make an appearance on Saturday Night Live’s season premiere in New York.

Vice President Joe Biden will be delivering keynote remarks instead. “We’re just happy to have them both,” an HRC spokesperson said.