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Hillary Clinton announces support for gay marriage

WASHINGTON — Former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton announced her support for gay marriage Monday, putting her in line with other potential Democratic presidential candidates on a social issue that is rapidly gaining public approval.

Clinton made the announcement in an online video released Monday morning by the gay rights advocacy group Human Rights Campaign. She says in the six-minute video that gays and lesbians are ‘‘full and equal citizens and deserve the rights of citizenship.’’

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‘‘That includes marriage,’’ she says, adding that she backs gay marriage ‘‘personally and as a matter of policy and law.’’

Clinton’s announcement is certain to accelerate the speculation that she is considering another run for president in 2016. Other possible Democratic contenders — including Vice President Joe Biden; New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo; and Maryland’s governor, Martin O’Malley — all back the right of same-sex couples to marry.

Polls show that public opinion on gay marriage has shifted perhaps more rapidly than on any other major issue in recent times. A Washington Post-ABC News poll released Monday shows 58 percent of Americans now believe it should be legal for gay and lesbian couples to get married; 36 percent say it should be illegal.

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