caveats

Bill Clinton: I Love Gay Marriage Now! (But Not Federal Gay Marriage!)

President Bill Clinton — whose cowardice led to his signing the Defense of Marriage Act — has flip-flopped on his position on gay marriage. Eight years too late for it to mean anything. Allow Anderson Cooper to let the man lead his apology tour.

“That our society has an interest in coherence and strength and commitment and mutually reinforcing loyalties,” says Clinton, “then if gay couples want to call their union marriage, and a state agrees, and several have now, and a religious body will sanction it, and I don’t think a state should be able to stop a religious body from saying it, I don’t think the rest of us should get in the way of it. I think it’s a good thing, not a bad thing.”

Ugh. Okay, so it’s great that Bill Clinton has finally seen the light. But it’s much easier to do so when you’re no longer in office, when you’re new job is “humanitarian,” when public opinion has changed. Yes, it’s hard to criticize someone who now supports your cause. But Bill? You didn’t support us when you had the chance. In fact, you ruined the lives of gay Americans. With DOMA. And with Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, which, while you’re also now sorry about that, the apology comes with an asterisk.

So here’s what we propose, Mr. Clinton, if you really want to stand beside us: Help make things better. Actively lobby your friends in Congress to drum up support for the Respect for Marriage Act. Go on the rampage against DADT, even if it means admitting your wrongs. Demand the Employment Non-Discrimination Act become a top priority for lawmakers. And when you’re done with all that, start dedicating some of the ridiculous resources of the William J. Clinton Foundation to helping gays. Yup, you’re already doing great work with your HIV/AIDS project, but you can do more. Gay youth need a hand. Gay seniors, too. Use whatever influence you have on Hillary to ensure she is making LGBT rights worldwide a priority.

Bill, you single-handedly — literally, while holding a pen between your fingers — helped destroy our lives out of ego, or faith, or peer pressure.

It’s time you make a serious commitment to making them better.