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Hillary Clinton Offers an 'Awesome Gay Agenda'

Hillary Clinton

The Democratic presidential front-runner outlines what she plans to do for LGBT Americans if elected.

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton today released a comprehensive policy paper on LGBT issues, laying out goals that include passing the Equality Act, ending the use of conversion therapy on minors, protecting the rights of transgender people, and more.

The paper, posted on Clinton's campaign website, notes that despite the arrival of nationwide marriage equality due to the Supreme Court's decision in June, much work remains to be done to assure full equality for LGBT Americans. "LGBT kids continue to be discriminated against and bullied at school, a restaurant can refuse to serve a transgender person, and a same-sex couple is at risk of being evicted from their home," the introduction states.

In the document, which echoes a sweeping speech Clinton gave to Human Rights Campaign volunteers in October, the former Secretary of State promises to take actions across six broad categories. In the category of achieving full federal equality for LGBT Americans, she pledges to work with Congress to pass the Equality Act, the more comprehensive successor to the long-stalled Employment Non-Discrimination Act; continue to use executive orders, as President Obama has, to advance equality; and support efforts in the courts and federal government departments to clarify that laws prohibiting sex discrimination also ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

In the realm of supporting LGBT youth, parents, and elders, she vows to end discriminatory treatment in adoption, improve the school climate for all students, end the use of "ex-gay" therapy on minors, combat youth homelessness, assure support for LGBT retirees, and collect national data to better serve LGBT individuals and families.

Clinton further pledges to honor the military service of LGBT Americans by upgrading the discharges of service members dismissed due to their sexual orientation, and support efforts to allow transgender personnel to serve openly. In the area of HIV and AIDS treatment, she promises to try to make it more affordable by calling on states that have not accepted Medicaid expansion to do so, and capping out-of-pocket expenses on prescription drugs. She will also seek to expand the use of preventive measures such as pre-exposure prophylaxis, also known as PrEP.

In the area of transgender rights, she says she will take measures aimed at reducing violence against trans people and improving law enforcement's interactions with this population, plus will seek to streamline the process for changing identity documents. The sixth area in the paper is promoting LGBT equality around the world, and the former secretary of State, who famously said "Gay rights are human rights," pledges to increase support for the Global Equality Fund, which supports programs that advance LGBT rights abroad.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights was quick to praise the document, which it notes is the first and most specific issued by any 2016 presidential candidate. "The policy positions announced today by Hillary Clinton sketch a bold vision for our community in this country and beyond," said a statement issued by NCLR executive director Kate Kendell. "We applaud Secretary Clinton for her audacious and uncompromising support for a range of policy initiatives which, if realized, would improve the lives and futures of every lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender person in our nation and the world.

"By addressing issues like parenting and adoption, protections for LGBT youth, conversion therapy, violence against transgender people and transgender service in the military, and health care access for people with HIV -- issues which have long been part of NCLR's work -- Secretary Clinton reflects a genuine understanding of the issues facing LGBT people and their families. Her passionate support is extremely gratifying."

Less formally, on her personal Facebook page, Kendell called Clinton's proposals "a pretty awesome gay agenda."

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