FORMER US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been forced to defend her position on same-sex marriage after she said her opinion on the subject had “evolved.”

Widely considered to be a frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, Clinton denied her stance on marriage equality had changed for purely political reasons.

Talking to America’s National Public Radio, Clinton accused interviewer Terry Gross of “playing with my words and playing with what is such an important issue.”

While Clinton backed gay civil unions in the 2008 presidential race, she only endorsed same-sex marriage last year after she left her high profile foreign affairs role.

Gross suggested Clinton’s previous lack of support went against her own personal views and had more to do with not being seen to be out of step with public opinion.

“I think you are trying to say that I used to be opposed and now I am in favour and I did it for political reasons,” Clinton told the presenter.

“And that’s just flat wrong.”

Clinton said she had grown up in a time when gay marriage was not even considered a possibility.

“This was an incredibly new and important idea that people on the front lines of the gay rights movement began to talk about and slowly, but surely, convinced others about the rightness of that position,” she said.

“I think that we have all evolved and it’s been one of the fastest, most sweeping transformations that I’m aware of.

“When I was ready to say what I said, I said it.”

The former First Lady criticised those against same-sex marriage, saying opposition was based more on dogma than evidence.

“Too many people believe they have a direct line to the divine and they never want to change their mind about anything,” she said.

Clinton is currently criss-crossing the US on a publicity blitz for her new book Hard Choices, which has been interpreted by many as a dry run for the upcoming presidential campaign.

During a stop in Chicago, Clinton said her role as Secretary of State had seen her champion LGBTI rights across the globe.

She said some countries just needed to be “brought along,” while others were “just cynical. Like what Putin’s doing in Russia with all these laws against the LGBT community.”

“That is just a cynical political ploy,” Clinton told the Chicago Sun-Times.

“I’ve gotten into shouting matches with top Russian officials.

“But I realised unless there was an argument made, a platform created, we wouldn’t have as strong of a case.”

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