Clinton’s Journey Mirrors Societal Shift on Gay Marriage

Tuesday, 26 Mar 2013 11:49 AM

By Kenneth Hanner

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
    A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
As the Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, the president who signed the bill has already repudiated his own action, marking a journey that mirrors how society has shifted on gay marriage.

In 1996, former President Bill Clinton signed DOMA, the federal law defining marriage as the union between a man and a woman. Earlier this month, Clinton wrote an op-ed piece in The Washington Post denouncing his decision.

Clinton wrote that it was “a very different time” when he signed the bill and said he wanted to head off more “draconian” options, including “a movement to enact a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, which would have ended the debate for a generation or more.”

“I know now that, even worse than providing an excuse for discrimination, the law is itself discriminatory,” Clinton wrote. “It should be overturned.”

Clinton signed DOMA at 1 a.m. on a Saturday morning in September 1996 after returning from a cross-country trip during his re-election campaign against Republican nominee Bob Dole.

“There were no cameras, no ceremony. The witching-hour timing bespoke both political calculation and personal angst,” The New York Times reported Tuesday. “With his signature, federal law now defined marriage as the union of a man and woman. Mr. Clinton considered it a gay-baiting measure, but was unwilling to risk re-election by vetoing it.”

Clinton, the Times noted, has been troubled by his decision ever since.

“For nearly 17 years since, that middle-of-the-night moment has haunted Mr. Clinton, the source of tension with friends, advisers and gay rights supporters. He tried to explain, defend and justify. He asked for understanding. Then he inched away from it bit by bit,” the Times reported.

Not all gay marriage supporters agree with Clinton’s justification at the time for signing DOMA.

In 1996, “there was no serious prospect that Congress was going to enact a discriminatory constitutional amendment for the first time ever,” Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, told The San Francisco Chronicle. “That threat was not even significantly talked about.”

“I think he’s misremembering the circumstances,” he added.

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Dershowitz, Hayden: Release 'Interview' for Free, Make Hackers Pay 'Heavy Consequence'

Friday, 19 Dec 2014 12:20 PM

Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz and former CIA Director Michael Hayden, on Newsmax TV on Friday, agreed that the S . . .

FBI Blames NKorea For Sony Hacking: 'Act of Intimidation'

Friday, 19 Dec 2014 11:18 AM

The cyber-terrorists behind the attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment sent a message to studio execs late Thursday givin . . .

Computer Security Expert: Sony Hack Attack May Be Inside Job

Friday, 19 Dec 2014 12:09 PM

A disgruntled employee could be responsible for the Sony hack attack that ultimately resulted in the cancellation of the . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved