World and Nation

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Hillary Clinton endorses same-sex marriage

Saying that “gay rights are human rights,” Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former secretary of state and potential 2016 presidential candidate, has endorsed same-sex marriage.

“I believe America is at its best when we champion the freedom and dignity of every human being,” Clinton said in a video posted Monday on the Internet by the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights advocacy group. Her announcement comes as the Supreme Court is about to hear two landmark gay rights cases that advocates hope will make same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states.

Clinton’s announcement represents a switch in position; as a presidential candidate in 2008, she explicitly opposed same-sex marriage, saying that she favored civil unions but that decisions about the legality of marriage should be left to the states. (Until last year, President Barack Obama took that position as well; the president now favors a right to marriage for gay couples.)

But Clinton did take steps to protect gay couples when she was secretary of state, work that she said “inspired me to think anew” about the values she holds.

“LGBT Americans are our colleagues, our teachers, our soldiers, our friends, our loved ones, and they are full and equal citizens and deserve the rights of citizenship,” she said in the six-minute video, using the abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. “That includes marriage.”

Clinton spoke in the video of the recent wedding of her own daughter, Chelsea, saying, “I wish every parent that same joy.”

Clinton and her family have longstanding ties to the Human Rights Campaign. The group’s president, Chad Griffin, was born in Hope, Ark. — Bill Clinton’s hometown — and got his start in politics volunteering for Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign. The former president and Chelsea Clinton expressed their support for same-sex marriage when it was under consideration in the New York state legislature.

And just last week, Bill Clinton expressed his explicit support for overturning the federal Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law — which he signed — that requires the federal government to view marriage as between a man and a woman for legal purposes.

—Sheryl Gay Stolberg, The New York Times

China arrests man after wife’s self-immolation protest

HONG KONG — The Chinese police arrested the husband of a Tibetan woman who last week died after setting herself alight in protest, an overseas group said Monday, following a separate fatal self-immolation at a Tibetan Buddhist monastery over the weekend.

The two acts bring the number of self-immolations by Tibetans within China to 109 since February 2009, based on a count compiled by the Tibetan government in exile, based in Dharamsala in northern India.

The woman, Kunchoek Wangmo, set herself ablaze Wednesday in Aba prefecture, a heavily Tibetan area of Sichuan province in southwest China, and her husband, Dolma Kyab, was detained by the police after he refused to blame domestic problems for her protest, said Free Tibet, a group based in London that campaigns for Tibetan self-determination. Aba is called Ngaba by Tibetans.

Alistair Currie, a media officer for Free Tibet, said that the group was not sure precisely when the man was arrested and that it had not received any more word about his case.

The predominantly Tibetan parts of Sichuan province have been among the restive areas that have experienced self-immolation protests against the Chinese presence and policies.

On Saturday, Lobsang Thogmey, a monk at the Kirti Buddhist Monastery — also in Aba prefecture — set himself on fire outside the monastery and died, according to the Tibetan government in exile.

—Chris Buckley, The New York Times