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Bill Clinton: "Achieving a more perfect union" includes marriage equality

NEW YORK -- As supporters of marriage equality push for a vote on the issue in the New York state legislature, former President Bill Clinton recently released a statement expressing his support of the measure.

The current legislative session ends in June, and proponents hope to see the vote take place before legislators take off for their summer recess.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) secured Clinton's statement, which reads:

Our nation's permanent mission is to form a ‘more perfect union’ - deepening the meaning of freedom, broadening the reach of opportunity, strengthening the bonds of community. That mission has inspired and empowered us to extend rights to people previously denied them. Every time we have done that, it has strengthened our nation. Now we should do it again, in New York, with marriage equality. For more than a century, our Statue of Liberty has welcomed all kinds of people from all over the world yearning to be free. In the 21st century, I believe New York's welcome must include marriage equality.

According to the HRC, Clinton’s endorsement comes as a record 58% of New Yorkers support committed gay and lesbian couples right to get married. This level of support comes from every region of the state, every age group, and is clearly bipartisan.

"There is enormous momentum right now all across the state for marriage equality," said Joe Solmonese, HRC president. "We are grateful to President Clinton for adding his voice to the mainstream majority who support loving couples getting married in New York."

HRC is also leading the New Yorkers for Marriage Equality campaign, a campaign centered on video testimonials from New Yorkers who support marriage equality.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a longtime LGBT advocate, has also repeatedly affirmed his commitment to marriage equality.