Paul  Kengor

On June 18, 2003, she gave an interview to New York's WNYC, where she affirmed: “You know, marriage has a meaning that … I think should be kept as it historically has been, but I see no reason whatsoever why people in committed relationships can't have ... many of the same rights and the same ... respect for their unions that they are seeking. And I would like to see that be more accepted than it is. ... I also think that we can realize the same results for many committed couples by urging that states and localities adopt civil union and domestic partnership laws.”

Her position remained fairly clear, but she was expressing it with rising ambivalence. I wrote in my 2007 book that it seemed that if the public changed its attitude on gay marriage, she would probably follow suit.

As late as the 2008 presidential race, Clinton still opposed same-sex marriage, advocating civil unions and leaving the legality of marriage to the states.

All of this changed this week, when the Human Rights Campaign, a gay-rights group with which Clinton has personal ties, posted a video where Clinton came out for gay marriage. The timing comes as the Supreme Court readies to hear two pivotal cases on gay marriage. “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,” said Clinton. “That includes gay marriage.”

Alas, here we are: Hillary Clinton favors gay marriage.

Some will charge that Clinton has embraced gay marriage out of political opportunism, that she sees the direction of her party, and therefore looking ahead to the 2016 presidential race, there's no way she would oppose gay marriage.

Perhaps there’s some truth to the claims, but I interpret her position as steadily evolving. It's an honest shift, one that thrills liberals.

On the other hand, it's a blow to the moderate image Clinton has tried to craft. I’ve commented previously on her stunning total silence on the Obama HHS mandate, which flies in the face of her onetime position as a champion of religious liberty, demonstrated by her 2005 co-sponsoring (with Sen. Rick Santorum) of the Workplace Religious Freedom Act.

What happened to Hillary the moderate? Her endorsement of gay marriage is the final blow to that coveted label.

It’s also an endorsement that doesn’t surprise me.