Clinton called out for whitewashing Defense of Marriage Act history

Hillary Clinton has been trying out a new explanation for her support of the Defense of Marriage Act, which her husband signed into law in 1996. According to her, the bill wasn’t meant to be an offensive attack on the LGBT community, it was a “defensive action” to prevent something worse, like a constitutional amendment banning marriage equality. As she told Rachel Maddow last week:

On Defense of Marriage, I think what my husband believed – and there was certainly evidence to support it – is that there was enough political momentum to amend the Constitution of the United States of America, and that there had to be some way to stop that. And there wasn’t any rational argument – because I was in on some of those discussions, on both ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ and on DOMA, where both the president, his advisers and occasionally I would – you know, chime in and talk about, ‘you can’t be serious. You can’t be serious.’ But they were.  And so, in a lot of ways, DOMA was a line that was drawn that was to prevent going further.

As Chris Johnson noted in the Washington Blade, this isn’t the first time the Clintons have explained DOMA in this context:

The Clintons on inauguration day, via Wikimedia Commons

The Clintons on inauguration day, via Wikimedia Commons

The notion that DOMA was signed into law to stave off a U.S. constitutional amendment has been articulated before by Hillary Clinton during an interview last year on National Public Radio. Bill Clinton offered that rationale for DOMA in 2009 during Netroots Nation when confronted by LGBT activist Lane Hudson.

“We were attempting at the time, in a very reactionary Congress, to head off an attempt to send a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage to the states,” Bill Clinton said. “And if you look at the 11 referenda much later — in 2004, in the election — which the Republicans put on the ballot to try to get the base vote for President Bush up, I think it’s obvious that something had to be done to try to keep the Republican Congress from presenting that.”

However, this version of the history of DOMA doesn’t square with what many LGBT activists remember:

Clinton’s revision is especially puzzling given the fact that, in the 2016 campaign, Clinton has been pretty good on LGBT issues, especially her full-throated endorsement of the Equality Act, which she called her “highest priority.”

At Saturday’s Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner in Iowa, Bernie Sanders attacked Clinton over this distortion — a rare move for him — highlighting his vote against DOMA while he was in Congress:

Now today, some are trying to rewrite history by saying that they voted for one anti-gay law to stop something worse. That is not the case. There was a small minority in the house opposed to discriminating against our gay brothers and sisters and I am proud that I was one of those members.

Of course, as the same activists frustrated with Clinton were quick to point out vis a vis Sanders, just because he cast the right votes doesn’t mean he can necessarily call himself a champion of LGBT rights.

That being said, Sanders is a co-sponsor of the Equality Act in the Senate, and has opposed anti-gay discrimination laws going back to his campaigns for mayor in the 1970s.

At the end of the day, the Democratic field is filled with candidates who have done some degree of evolving on LGBT rights, but who have all (O’Malley included) landed in the right place today. Rather than pretend that their past errors don’t exist, or were actually pro-LGBT moves in the first place, they’d do better to admit their mistakes and move on. They can take credit for how far they’ve come.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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  • nkd

    And Bernie voted against DOMA because he thought it should be a state’s rights issue. Also in 2006 he was against VT’s same sex marriage saying he supported civil unions instead. I am glad they both have evolved but be honest about both.

  • Indigo
  • (shudder) Don’t joke about that…
    just…
    don’t….
    (now I got the willies!)
    8-O

  • dcinsider

    Bill used his DOMA signing in his campaign for President to show everyone he really did not like the fags.

    I’m not terribly surprised by her comments. And I agree that we need to keep a close eye on her, she is our fiend, when it’s politically convenient, and she’s not a friend when it’s politically inconvenient.

    Paul Tsongas she is not.

    But she is what we have that can actually win a general election, and I don;t want any Republican choosing SCOTUS justices.

  • FLL

    So we have three serious contenders for the presidency: Bernie, Hillary and Trump. To their credit, all three were opposed to DADT in 2000, the year of Trump’s interview with the Advocate. As far as marriage rights, Trump’s 2000 interview and Bernie’s 2006 interview are about equivalent (although there is a six year difference involved). As far as comprehensive civil rights (employment, housing, public accommodations, etc.), Trump, who was somewhat prescient in this respect, beats out Bernie, who was only pushing ENDA. Both Bernie and Trump beat out Hillary in their avoidance of the kind of snippy, anti-gay rhetoric that Hillary indulged in during her 2004 speech in the Senate (link here)

  • FLL

    So in 2006 Bernie Sanders was against introducing marriage equality in Vermont, although he wanted the feds to leave the Massachusetts law alone on states’ rights grounds. In February 2000 there wasn’t a single spot on the planet where same-sex couples could marry, and this was the month in which Donald Trump somehow felt compelled to give an interview with The Advocate. Yes, The Advocate. Link to the reprinted article in The Advocate here. Link to the original article from

  • FLL

    Oops. The conversation needs a few more nuances, I think. Bernie Sanders voted against DOMA in 1996 only on “states’ rights” grounds and opposed marriage equality for Vermont during his 2006 senatorial campaign, expressing support only for civil unions. A video clip from 2006 is included in an article from Slate earlier this month (link here). Here is a quote from that video clip:

    Mr. Sanders, do you think gay people ought to have the right to get married outside of Massachusetts…

    Bernie Sanders: I was a strong supporter of civil unions. I believe that. I voted against the [1996] DOMA bill. I do not believe the federal government should be involved in overturning Massachusetts or any other state because I think, Stuart, the whole issue of marriage is a state issue.

  • Bill_Perdue

    The emerging fight in American politics is not between Clintonistas and BS supporters or even between the Democrats and Republicans. The real fight will be between socialists and those who support capitalist politics.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Clinton gave the Republicans everything they wanted but couldn’t get on their own, and not just in terms of DOMA and DADT and the rights of the LGBT communities.

    NAFTA is a Republican initiative and he promoted it and signed it. The same is true of Republican initiatives to gut welfare, add 100,00 new cops ‘just in case’, begin the first American genocide in Iraq (the murder of half a million Iraqi children), the policy of rendition – the kidnapping, torture and murder of thousands of Arabs and muslims who opposed US wars of aggression, the creation of a body of lies to support the idea that Sadaam Hussein had WMD’s and the passage of the deregulation acts of 1999 and 2000. There are no differences between the parties and no reason for anyone in their right mind to worry about the fate of Democrats or Republicans.

    Anyone who voted for Bill Clinton voted for the full Republican program and the same is true of those who voted for Obama and the same will be true of those who plan on voting for HRH HRC.

  • The latter, obviously.

  • Don Chandler

    Yeah, Murrah. Clinton had very low ratings back then. He was flirting with below 40% approval:

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/116584/presidential-approval-ratings-bill-clinton.aspx

    After Murrah, he put his charisma to work and probably helped get him reelected. Unfortunately, it also moved him to the Right Wing, and they later threw him under the bus.

  • mf_roe

    When friends don’t defend you against your enemies how are you suppose to respond? Defend their commitment to compromise or question the sincerity of their friendship?

  • Don Chandler

    Well, if you had a electorate that was 67% against “same-sex marriage” and Clinton refused to sign the DOMA which was approved:

    342 (yeas) to 67 (nays) 2 (present) 22 (not voting) … in an election year….

    The subsequent election could have seen an even more republican Senate and House as well as a Republican Presidency. In such a setting, we might see the gathering of support in favor of an Amendment. This is a reasonable scenario–though not full proof. It’s not wise to veto something that is sought after by the strong majority…the 67%. So in a sense, I can agree, it would be something over more than one administration. But momentum was on the amendment side in 1996.

  • You’re right: The idea of fiddling with the Constitution to enact permanently discriminatory policies and laws against specific minorities (in this case, LGBTs) didn’t really enter the ‘political zeitgeist’ until well after SCOTUS installed Dubya as president.

    I don’t doubt that someone, somewhere probably did back in ’96 say something along the lines of, “OMG, they REALLY hate gay people! Better this betrayal than something way worse.” (There are always apologists…) But the fact remains there were no plans and no attempt to introduce a same-sex marriage ban amendment in Congress until 2002. Which they did despite the existence of DOMA. And the lopsided pro-DOMA vote is not at all necessarily equal to those who, in ’96, would have been willing to go so far as to vote for a Constitutional amendment instead, absent the chance to vote for DOMA.

    Hell, the possibility of “Well, if this is terrible, it can be undone with simple legislative action or a SCOTUS overturn” more likely significantly lowered the bar for willingness to go along with the anti-gay lemming stampede.

    I have no idea if it’s been considered or not, but I think the Democrats’ political homophobia from DADT onward — including DOMA — may have been what emboldened the conservative hard-liners to keep pushing the anti-gay agenda even further in subsequent years.

  • mf_roe

    Or
    Waco Branch Dravidian tragedy.
    Clinton was feeling real heat on that and anything to placate the enraged right wing was up for grabs, why not throw the people without recourse to the wolves.

  • mf_roe

    I think We can agree on Amendments being longer term issues than a single administration. That was the central point of my comment. Clinton’s true agenda on gender issues is only obscured by his use of questionable justifications for his actions.

  • You mean the Murrah building bombing?

  • I remember being dismayed and horrified by that speech. Like, “Hey, we all agree that being straight is inherently superior in every single way and God loves heterosexual married couples most of all. But gay people don’t deserve a Constitutional amendment directed specifically against them. Our current anti-gay laws should be good enough.”

    No, she didn’t say those words, but it felt like it. And 2004 was a year of major ups and downs for those of us in long-term same-sex relationships and who just wanted some legal protections for them.

  • Don Chandler

    When you look back at Clinton’s first term as president, you can’t forget to bring up Oklahoma. In a way, it gave Clinton the gab to reintroduce himself as a patriot or remake himself as a centrist or ‘compromiser’. He still threw us under the bus.

  • Don Chandler

    Yeah, retrospectives are always interesting. Hillary uses some awful rhetoric in that clip. I saw a SNL clip recently where Val the bartender (Hillary) is talking to the Fake Hillary (funny comedian). The fake Hillary goes off on supporting DOMA and what a mistake it was. Val says, “Good Point”. So maybe Hillary should have let sleeping dogs lie like Val let sleeping dogs lie.

    As has been pointed out, what does Bernie stand to gain when he only supported civil unions, not same sex marriage. I’d say Bernie should stick with Hillary’s pro-Iraq War II stance. That actually means more to progressives than all the ‘what ifs’ on DOMA. Besides, the term “marriage equality” wasn’t even used back in 1996. It was a great idea to chican “same-sex marriage” for the euphemism of “marriage equality” because it got rid of the sense of advocating same-sex marriage over opposite-sex marriage…something the religious right loved to point out no matter how wrong they were. So, we have all evolved ;) [well, not sure Bill has evolved ;)]

  • timncguy

    How is it any different than Bernie opposing DOMA and opposing same-sex marriage for Vermont at the same time? Sounds EXACTLY like being on both sides of the argument at the same time to me. You’re just blinded by your total hatred of the Clintons. What I fully understand is that either candidate would be better than any republican and I will vote for which ever of the two gets the nomination. I do not want any possibility of any republican making nominations to the Supreme Court.

  • FLL

    I’m not as sure as you are that Bill either is or was less supportive of gay rights than Hillary. Review Hillary’s 2004 video clip in my comment above. I don’t remember Bill ever making comments like this, least of all before Congress.

  • FLL

    I think the clip above is worth analyzing on a progressive blog. It reminds folks that they do need to keep a watchful eye on Hillary, especially because of the possibility that she could be the next president.

  • DanInHouston

    I remember back then also. My husband and I have been together for 31 years. I was terrified of a constitutional amendment back after Hawaii and I understood how DOMA took the wind out of the sails of those who wanted a constitutional amendment. I considered it a good compromise at the time.

  • I do think you have a valid position there though. History’s a tapestry and who really knows what would’ve happened if different threads had been pulled?

    If not for the Hawaii same-sex marriage case hitting the news in the slow-news month of August and early, just months before the ’96 elections, there might never have been a DOMA at all. The ironic part was the Hawaii case had lost (but was going to be appealed to the HI State Supreme Court) in the weeks before Clinton signed DOMA.

    Sill, in 2013, Mike McCurry (former Clinton press secretary) recounted how, in his recollection, accepting DOMA was a political decision due entirely to the upcoming election and not one made strategically to prevent worse things happening to LGBT folks.

  • Don Chandler

    That’s the kind of clip Breitbart finds! There is a difference between expediency and prudence. This clip demonstrates political expediency. In 1996, it could have been called political prudence.

  • FLL

    Let me offer some comments on Hillary’s speech from 2004. I think it was a net negative concerning marriage equality. Although she was shooting down the idea of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, so was almost everyone else in the country in 2004, if for no other reason than the fact that DOMA was already in place. Hillary’s opposition to an amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 2004, therefore, didn’t really have much effect on anything. Now let’s analyze some quotes from the speech in the above video clip.

    (1) “I believe that marriage is not just a bond but a sacred bond between a man and a woman.” Here Hillary is extolling the Christianist fiction that civil marriage is a religious institution rather than a civil institution.
    (2) “I have had occasion in my life to defend marriage, to stand up for marriage, to believe in the hard work and challenge of marriage.” Here HIllary is expressing her belief that the challenges that a man and woman might be faced with in a marriage are far more poignant, meaningful and worthy of respect than similar challenges faced by a same-sex couple in a long-term relationship.
    (3) “So I take umbrage at the suggestion that anyone who might suggest that those of us who worry about amending the Constitution to the sanctity of marriage or to the…that it exists between a man and a woman going back into the mists of history…as one of the founding foundational institutions of history and humanity and civilization…during those millennia…raising and socialization of children…” blah blah blah, und so weiter.

    Speaking for myself, I take umbrage at the snippy tone in Hillary’s speech and the contemptuous and scornful implied comparison she makes between opposite-sex marriage and same-sex marriage.

  • FLL

    Bernie’s criticism of Hillary is on target, but he an example from 2004 is much more convincing than an example from 1996. Let me explain. In 1996 the reaction throughout the nation toward the prospect of legal same-sex marriage was so hysterical that there was a good chance that Congress and most states would have been in favor of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution if DOMA hadn’t been an alternative. In 2004 national opinion regarding same-sex marrige was light years removed from 1996. In 2004 Bush’s support of a constitutional amendment was nothing more than a publicity stunt; it was a non-starter in 2004 that had virtually no support at all.

    So the argument from 1996 is weaker than the argument about Hillary’s statements concerning marriage equality in 2004. What statements am I referring to? I’m amazed that even those with Hillary Derangement Syndrome have not brought this up, but maybe their analytical abilities have been affected by cutting and pasting too much. Allow me to fill in the gap. In 2004 Hillary made the following insulting speech before the Senate:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6I1-r1YgK9I

  • Don Chandler

    Yeah, it is sound conventional thinking to say DOMA bad. I would never push to pass DOMA to win gay rights ten years later. Way too risky and I’m not prescient! But DOMA did serve us later…after the damage it did to us back then. I did say “hindsight”. I do also remember being “very afraid” of a constitutional amendment. Call it irrational. Or unjustified. Or is it just wary. Anyways, I appreciate what you and dcinsider say.

  • Interesting points there, but I’m not sure I buy that, Don, because without DOMA, the federal government would have had to recognize those Massachusetts marriages and then later the Iowa ones.

    In any case, what happened happened and we can debate whether or not things would’ve been better or worse without DOMA because none of us has access to these Alternate Americas. I personally am on the side of “better without DOMA”, because its existence never satisfied those who wanted the FMA anyway, nor did it stop any anti-gay state from passing whatever level of anti-gay laws they felt like passing.

  • Don Chandler

    In the context of Lawrence v Texas, there is a little line from Justice O’Connor where she says it’s clear that there needs to be “some scrutiny” applied where gays are concerned. Something changed her since she voted for keeping Georgia’s anti-sodomy laws in 1986. She voted to strike down the Texas anti-sodomy laws in 2003. It’s an important evolution. I would like to ask her what most made her change. Well, State by State DOMA inspired laws come to mind.

  • Let’s talk timing and history: DOMA was passed in August 1996, just months before the election. The backgrounder was there was a court case in Hawaii where there was just a smidge of a chance they might’ve found for a right to same-sex marriage rights. (Ultimately the case lost and we would not see anything of the sort until early 2004.) 1996 was also the middle part of the Democrats’ “Let’s woo conservative swing voters…it’s not like our base will vote for anyone else” phase.

    Hillary and Bill and their defenders are slightly correct but misleading. The ‘defensive action’ was political, not to prevent something worse from happening to gays and lesbians, but to defend the Democratic party in the imminent election. A conscious choice was made to throw gays and lesbians under the bus.

    Let’s go further back, to 1993, when the new Clinton administration floated the idea of keeping his campaign promise to use an executive order to end the ban on gays serving in the military. The homophobes went ballistic — the Republicans and the ConservaDems both. We ended up with DADT. This is when the core of the Democratic party became fully engaged with “political homophobia,” as well as the notion is was kind-of/sort-of okay to promise civil rights progress to the LGBT community during campaigns, but only on the down-low and always find ways to sabotage it.

    Hence why there’s no ENDA, T-inclusive or otherwise. And why Bill Clinton and Barack Obama both claimed repeatedly (the latter up until 2012) that DOMA was totally Constitutional. And also why every attempt to repeal DADT failed until OutServe and ActUP applied the screws in the lame-duck aftermath of the 2010 election debacle.

    As for the Constitutional amendment angle, more than a few activists, journalists, historians and scholars have already chimed in now to say it wasn’t seriously being considered. It took until 2004 for the Republicans to make the ‘Federal Marriage Amendment’ part of their platform…and where did it go? Right, nowhere. Despite all the hoohah of Massachusetts legalizing same-sex marriage that year. Repeated attempts to get Congress to pass the FMA failed every time, even when the Republicans were in control.

    Just like the Patriot (sic) Act, DOMA was passed in a spasm of political panic (as was DADT before). Why? Because despite pitching themselves as pro-gay rights to the LGBT community, the Democrats didn’t want to become associated with being pro-gay to the country at large. And so they adapted their old “punch a hippie” strategy for a different disadvantaged minority.

    As I said, DOMA wasn’t passed to prevent something worse. It was passed because the Hawaii case was in the news and the Democrats panicked about the upcoming election just a few months away. They wanted LGBT issues to go away and so the calculation was made to sacrifice a relatively unpopular group.

  • Don Chandler

    The comparison between guns and “marriage equality” is difficult. Gun rights can be seen as civil rights ;) In fact the very strong gun lobby uses this in their arguments. I don’t want to defend gun rights. It’s way out of control. It’s unregulated. But you are right, it is very hard to get an amendment passed. Still, 66% against same-sex marriage is dangerous. As a gay, I was at the time very afraid of an amendment being passed. It wasn’t until after Bush was “made” president that someone prevailed upon me the unlikelihood of an amendment. But the threat was there. I remember it well. We were very lucky to have the internet boom in the last years of Clinton. That changed opinion very quickly and we were right on it.

    Clinton probably was very naive thinking he could change the military. But we had do start someplace.

  • dcinsider

    As you say, almost impossible to know, but I’d put money on DOMA being worse for us than better.

  • Don Chandler

    I like what you said here. But an argument can be made that DOMA helped “marriage equality”. It’s all hindsight, ofc. But DOMA allowed states to pass their anti-gay amendments state by state. The various anti-gay amendments stood as proof of extreme animus towards gays. By the time “marriage equality” had a 50% support among us citizens, the legal system could just look at the various state amendments and see that gays needed some sort of scrutiny…. So the DOMA inspired amendments served as legal proof of extreme anti-gay animus. Come 60% approval, of “marriage equality”, we had the legal impetus to revisit the state amendments and show how ridiculous were the framers of these hateful amendments. The amendments fell like a house of cards and federalism (or state’s rights) was proven wrong on human right issues…once again.

    Further, not all states passed DOMA inspired anti-gay amendments. Those states proved to be a toe hold for our cause.

    Given how things have worked out, had we not had over 50% support for our cause, I think the haters would be having a field day.

  • mf_roe

    How many Americans are afraid of gun violence?, how close is a 2nd Amendment reversal.
    It takes more than opinion, amendments take lengthy processes to become fact. If the climate was so negative why did Bill provoke the “GAY HATERS”? He got more blow-back than he was prepared for but it was more of an intense hardcore faction than broad hostility, at the time few outside the GLBT world had much at stake. Bottom line Clinton had no problem betraying a group of supporters when they came under attack.

  • dcinsider

    Hillary had a great week, and her testimony before the Benghazi committee finally pushed me in her direction. Then she starts this nonsense and it just drives me crazy.

    I HATE Bill Clinton for what he did to us. However, I do not hold her responsible. Bill is a slimeball.

    I see no advantage to re-litigating this issue. Bill screwed us, never apologized for it, and has tried to spin it multiple times. He’s a douchebag. I have never understood why gay people loved the guy.

    Hillary, on the other hand, has evolved as much as President Obama who I think most of us see as a hero on gay rights.

    So, Hillary, some friendly advice. Next time DOMA comes up, here’s your answer.

    “You know, it was a different time, with different attitudes. In retrospect, I think DOMA was a huge mistake. Some might say DOMA prevented a Constitutional amendment, but we will never know. In the end, it hurt a lot of people for a long time. I know Bill feels badly about that law. I know I do as well. But I’m glad to say it’s no longer law, and I’m proud of my record supporting LGBT rights. I will be an advocate, and a friend, in the White House. I don’t have any Republican friends that can make that statement.”

  • Don Chandler

    Here is a Pew Research article:

    http://www.people-press.org/2012/02/07/growing-public-support-for-same-sex-marriage/

    In 1996, 66% of US citizens were against same-sex marriage. 27% were in favor of same sex marriage. That is a dangerous and lopsided breakdown! It suggests that Clinton is right about the danger of an amendment passing. Remember, it was likely worse prior to 1996. Things have only gotten better over time and exposure. The graph shows that it wasn’t until 2011 that marriage equality had a +50% support. The establishment rules until the people speak up.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Actually they’re representative of both parties as a whole.

  • mf_roe

    The Clintons are so far down the path lying is the only option, like the Bushes they are prisoners of their history.

  • mf_roe

    thanks for a comment I can support unreservedly.

  • mf_roe

    Constitutional amendments are rare beasts. they DO NOT grow out of a single congress.They have a much longer gestation period and more often than not are parented by significant movements within the population.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Clinton was ahead in the polls in the summer and fall of 1996. He was never in danger of losing. And you’re correct, HRH HRC should be honest, but that’s not going to happen.

  • mf_roe

    Your not lying if your talking out of two sides of your mouth, your just preparing for victory despite the outcome.

  • Bill_Perdue

    DOMA had nothing to do with any constitutional amendment or the prospects for one. It was an example of bigot pandering ad those who pander to bigots are functional bigots.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Nothing the Clinton’s say or do will erase their record of bigotry and betrayal.

    There was no proposal for a constitutional amendment in 1996.

    The testimony of Evan Wolfson, of Lambda Legal and the National Freedom to Marry Coalition says that HRH HRC is a liar. ”That’s complete nonsense. There was no conversation about something ‘worse’ until eight years later. There was no talk of a constitutional amendment, and no one even thought it was possible — and, of course, it turned out it wasn’t really possible to happen. So, the idea that people were swallowing DOMA in order to prevent a constitutional amendment is really just historic revisionism and not true. That was never an argument made in the ’90s.” http://www.metroweekly.com/2011/09/becoming-law/

    The testimony of Elizabeth Birch says that HRH HRC is a liar. “In 1996, I was President of the Human Rights Campaign, and there was no real threat of a Federal Marriage Amendment.” http://americablog.com/2013/03/president-clinton-wrong-history-doma.html

    From Wiki “The original proposed Federal Marriage Amendment was written by the Alliance for Marriage with the assistance of former Solicitor General and failed Supreme Court nominee Judge Robert Bork, Professor Robert P. George of Princeton University, and Professor Gerard V. Bradley of Notre Dame Law School. It was introduced in the 107th United States Congress in the House of Representatives on May 15, 2002, by Representative Ronnie Shows (D-Miss.) with 22 cosponsors.”

    Both parties are run by bigots.

  • Don Chandler

    People seem to think that posturing oneself for the next election is wrong. But if you lose the next election, it could have dramatic effects on your ultimate goals. Yeah, both DADT and DOMA felt to me to be losses for Gays. There was a huge backlash against gays over the “gays in the military” issue in Clinton’s first term. DADT was the result. I always thought Bill Clinton was slap down hard by congressional hardliners. Here he was a guy that avoided Vietnam and suddenly he was a President restructuring the military. Not a easy reality. DOMA followed but it’s also true that their was momentum for an amendment. In fact, Shrub’s administration did continue to try and get an amendment passed but by then, their was some movement the other way. Had Clinton lost his second term, it’s hard to say where we would be today…yeah, we need PKDick to sort it out ;) I tend to think Hillary is correct.

  • Don Chandler

    Around 2000, gays were pushing for states rights too. It was a way to get the ball rolling.

  • nicho

    Well, I suppose that’s your story and you’re sticking to it. The face remains that the Clintons can be on all sides of every issue at the same time. They will say or do anything to get power. Neither he nor she can be trusted. You do understand that, don’t you?

  • Hue-Man

    Bill Clinton’s presidency originated the term “triangulation” and DOMA is a perfect example.

    wiki: “Triangulation is the term given to the act of a political candidate presenting their ideology as being above or between the left and right sides (or “wings”) of a traditional (e.g. American or British)
    democratic political spectrum. It involves adopting for oneself some of the ideas of one’s political opponent. The logic behind it is that it both takes credit for the opponent’s ideas, and insulates the
    triangulator from attacks on that particular issue.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triangulation_%28politics%29

    After his support of gays in the military, he needed DOMA to”insulate” his re-election campaign from GOP attacks. It worked and Hillary should be honest about it.

  • timncguy

    you do understand that a person can be opposed to same-sex marriage and be opposed to writing that opposition in to the constitution at the same time without there being a contradiction, right?

  • timncguy

    And Sanders is outright lying by saying he voted against DOMA because he opposed it on the merits. That’s not true, He opposed DOMA because he supported the right of individual states to ban same-sex marriage. Bernie also is on record opposing same-sex marriage in VT. No difference here. You just hold the two to different standards

  • I already don’t trust her because of her Iraq War vote and the DOMA/DADT past. Lying to me about what happened just makes that worse, not better. She should be trying to smooth this over, but any time either of the Clintons addresses DOMA or DADT there’s no admission that there was anything wrong. Is that how you make amends? If you’re a Clinton, it is. They’ve always been like this (my memory of them goes back to the early 80s).

  • Agreed. Neither has a perfect record on gay issues. Both should own up to that, apologize, and move forward. This revisionism and blame-shifting does not make me like either of them more.

  • nicho

    But the point with Hillary is that she is outright lying about her stance on same-sex marriage. It’s more outrageous because there is video of her saying she’s opposed. She’s taking us for fools.

  • Indigo

    Explaining away segregation after integration became the law of the land worked along similar lines. They’re just lies to cover past injustice. But the river of time flows on and to me it seems fair enough to just keep going. This is one of those matters over which looking back is about as useful as picking open a scab. Let it go. Or take unworkable revenge and vote for President Trump.

  • timncguy

    Bernie Sanders voted against DOMA because he believed in States’ rights on the issue. Not because he believed in equality. He thought it should be left to the states. Then, in his state of Vermont, he OPPOSED marriage equality and supported civil unions instead. So, while we are working to keep Hillary honest, let’s do the same with Bernie please.

  • nicho

    In 2004, Hillary was adamantly opposed to same-sex marriage. So, it doesn’t make any sense that she was trying to “save” it in 1996. Hillary — stop lying. We have the quotes. We’re not all as stupid as you seem to think we are.

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