Is there anyone more shameless than Bill Clinton? In his latest attempt to position himself as all-around pal of the LGBT community, Clinton is among those celebrating the achievements of Edith Windsor and her attorney, Roberta Kaplan, who successfully challenged the Defense of Marriage Act before the Supreme Court last year.
You remember DOMA. That’s the bill that Bill Clinton signed into law. And then proceeded to feature in campaign ads targeting conservative Christian voters.
Clinton’s remarks come as part of Logo’s “Trailblazers” special to be broadcast Thursday. He says that he is “honored and grateful to be among the voices urging” the death of DOMA. As for Windsor and Kaplan, “as marriage equality spreads across the states, the number of people impacted by these two amazing women will only continue to grow,” Clinton says.
Clinton got around to calling for the Supreme Court to strike down DOMA three months before the Court did so. By an amazing coincidence, that’s just around the same time that his wife announced that she supported marriage equality, and around ten months after Obama announced his support for marriage.
In an exchange on NPR last week, Hillary was clearly irritated when pressed about the timing and reasoning of her evolution. Bill has the advantage of providing a taped statement, so he can’t be questioned.
What’s galling about Bill Clinton’s embrace for LGBT rights is that he has never apologized for the laws he saddled the community with while in office. You can argue that 1996 was a very different time than it is today, but you can’t argue that Clinton put politics above principle. Instead of making a statement about his belief in LGBT rights, he was willing to sacrifice his gay and lesbian supporters on the altar of political expediency and then actual try to cultivate the antigay vote to boot.
If Clinton was a real homophobe, it would be easier to forgive him, but he was the most gay friendly president elected up until then. He knew better. He just wouldn’t risk the political capital for us.
So hurray for Bill Clinton recognizing how great Edie Windsor and Roberta Kaplan are. Of course, if it hadn’t been for him in the first place, we may never have had to find that out.
There is nothing more pathetic than a blog that cannot even do some simple research before publishing a completely nonsense articles like this. Clinton has apologized for DOMA many times. It also was NOT a law he supported. He only signed it in the 90s as a compromise for republicans not pushing for an anti-gay marriage amendment to the Constitution.
Had Clinton not signed DOMA and Republicans had passed such a constitutional amendment we would never have achieved what we have. Do you not realize how hard it would be to reverse an amendment?
Bill Clinton, have say “that is the biggest mistake I have ever done”. He is not against us the (HOMOS)should be let to do for us.
@crixus: Exactly. Thanks for pointing this out, crixus. DOMA was passed by a Republican-controlled Congress with support from Republicans and Democrats alike to be veto-proof. Clinton did not write the law, he is not responsible for it. The 1996 Congress (especially Bob Barr) shares much more of the blame and we should focus our effort on them instead of our allies.
There’s nothing worse than gay revisionist history.
I’m SHOCKED that the usual suspects, you know, the ones always defending every single anti-gay republican in the country, aren’t on here faking outrage at Clinton.
Sure, Clinton signed it, and yes, he took too damn long to speak against it, but like all of those other politicians in Mi that just came out in support of gay rights, guess, what, he isn’t in office anymore. What we DO have, is Hillary, who has come out for gay rights and gay marriage before the election. So hey, nice to see that.
When the “Usual Suspects” come in here, screaming about how awful the dems are and claiming that republicans are victims of the evil gay bullies, it’ always fun to ask them which prominent republicans in the party leadership or currently in office are advocating for gay rights.
They usually disappear after that.
@crixus: You’re quite the Clinton apologist. You’re also sickening.
The love affair many gays have for Bill Clinton is simply bizarre.
@Desert Boy: Which statement of fact in crixus’s post do you think makes that commenter a Clinton apologist? I see no apology; a defense, perhaps, against people who ignore the facts as they were in 1996.
Your love affair with revisionist history is simply bizarre.
I don’t think it is revisionist to point out that he signed it. Also got angry when it was brought up to him years later.
He went for political expediency and it was a dick move. There is the argument that the GOP could have possibly passed a constitutional amendment. Maybe that would have happened, maybe it wouldn’t have. But lets not pretend that signing DOMA was anything but a bad thing.
That however, doesn’t ignore the reality the the GOP today is ferociously anti-gay and the Democratic party, on the whole supports gay rights. It would be stupid to claim that a Dem president signing Doma should cause people to vote for the GOP in the current climate.
@Desert Boy: Can you actually critique or counter a single thing I said or is your brain just capable of attacking people with no substance?
What a cheap shot, pathetic article. Clinton made huge mistakes in his time, but this isn’t one of them.. it was a different era, and I am not going to school you on the details, but refer you to web to do a little research.
“He went for political expediency and it was a dick move. There is the argument that the GOP could have possibly passed a constitutional amendment. Maybe that would have happened, maybe it wouldn’t have. But lets not pretend that signing DOMA was anything but a bad thing.”
It is not possible, it is fact that DOMA was a compromise to stop the GOP from seeking an anti-gay marriage amendment, which they had the votes in Congress and in the States for ratification at the time.
Just like it is fact military leaders at the time testified DADT was not going to be used to persecute gays. It was no intended to be an anti-gay law, just a misguided LGBT protection that was then abused.
Pretending that 19995 was 2014 is just plain ridiculous.
The libs are finally calling out their own on being hypocritical?
It must be my birthday.
@Cam: I agree on all points. I was suggesting that it is disingenuous to imbue Bill Clinton’s signing DOMA with more than what it was. Critics of his from the left have a selective memory and remember the event implying malicious intent on his part. Clinton didn’t want to sign it, but any action on his part (e.g. a veto) would have had worse consequences. I’m OK with Clinton because he tried to do right by us but was backed into a corner. I’m not sure what his critics expected him to do in that situation but they’ve offered up no alternatives so far.
I could care less about what President DID THEN… it is what he is doing NOW that is important. Quitcher bitchin’!
@BJ McFrisky: said…
“The libs are finally calling out their own on being hypocritical?
It must be my birthday.”
Now for our birthdays you should think about at least one time not defending an anti-gay politician simply because they are a republican.
Your problem is, that you KNOW the GOP is rabidly anti-gay. If you did not think this, then you would actually try to defend them not constantly try to deflect or avoid the topic, or claim that bigots are actually victims.
The fact that you DO try to avoid that shows that you are completely aware that they are anti-gay, they are bigots, and you can’t win an argument on that topic, which makes you far worse than somebody who is simply deluded, it means you are a willing and eager participant in attacks against civil rights and in your own impression.
As for the Clinton’s lets just say if republicans think bringing up Bill is going to help their chances against Hillary, they are barking up the wrong tree. They think past presidents are terrible to bring up only because THEIR past presidents are election killers to bring up.
The article is absurd of course. But I’m glad to see that commentators have finally got the history right. For years I’ve listened to the gay mainstream invent a ton of fantasy about dadt and doma, and trash the Clintons along the way. I wonder what has changed. That you all have got it exactly right indicates that you’ve known this stuff all along. But maybe idiots have had a grip on the mic all this time. Anyway, it’s nice to see the sensible crowd step forward finally.
To argue that It was a choice between DOMA and a constitutional amendment is being ingenuous because it is a false dichotomy. It is also revisionist. I was around then. There was never much danger that a constitutional amendment would have passed, given that DOMA didn’t even pass Congress with a veto-proof majority, and the bar for an amendment to the constitution is much higher than that.
So it is false to claim, as someone did, that DOMA wasn’t passed with a veto-proof majority. That is nonsense. Clinton could easily have vetoed DOMA. Instead, he preferred to throw gays under the bus, as he did so many other progressive causes, because of his pathological need to be liked by the largest number of people.
Sorry, Zi meant to write
*it is false to claim that DOMA WAS passed with a veto-proof majority.
@Desert Boy: The Clintons will ride any popular bandwagon they can get their hitch on! For some reason, most gays defend the Clintons. I don’t get it. The Clintons are the biggest neo-Cons of the bunch: pro-Wall-Street, pro-military, pro-establishment! Hell, Bill Clinton signed the laws that destroyed the middle class: NAFTA, repealing Glass Steagall, etc.
You also left out the part about the repeal being Sponsored by 3 republicans in a republican controlled Congress.
Sen. Phil Gramm (R, Texas), Rep. Jim Leach (R, Iowa), and Rep. Thomas J. Bliley, Jr. (R, Virginia), the co-sponsors of the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act.
The repeal of Glass Steagall that is, not DADT
@SpunkyBunks: It must be fun to live in a fantasy world.
Here’s a taste of reality. The Clintons are politicians, which means they follow political realities. They are also liberals, meaning they’ll do what can be done for liberal causes. Obama is no different, except that he has the luck of being in power during different times.
Sorry to have disturbed naivete.
The Clintons are corporatists… neither liberal or Conservative. They bow down to money and power at every opportunity. Turn your backs on gays…yes. Turn your back on the poor…done. Give Wallstreet whatever they want…bingo.
God help those who look to Hillary for anything other than misery. Her Republican roots run deep… just check out her history. She worked for Goldwater and carried water for Richard M. Nixon. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillary_Rodham_Clinton
There aren’t many people outside of the GOP, Fox News, etc. more shameless than the Clintons.
@vive: Exactly. The Clintons & their apologists ALWAYS pull out the canard that a constitutional amendment was on it’s way & would’ve passed if Bill hadn’t signed DOMA.
@Dakotahgeo: Yeah, it doesn’t matter that Clinton signed DOMA, thereby RUINING countless of people’s lives.
But hey, now that he has no power, what he says is important!
I would like, just one fucking time, for Queerty to research a topic before it posts and opinion on it. A lot of complicated things went into the signing of the DOMA bill into law. The passing of DOMA was a compromises with republicans who had drafted much worse marriage equality laws. Clinton knew he couldn’t veto them without republicans being able to override the veto (bc some democrats were going to join them). An overwhelming number of Democrats voted for DOMA as well. In fact, Clinton ripped the law and didn’t allow for any type of celebration to be made on capitol hill after signing it. And for the record, Clinton came out in support of gay marriage 4 FULL YEARS before DOMA was overturned. You do the LGBT community a great disservice by attacking allies without the proper facts.
-Someone with a summa cum laude degree in political science who has studied the subject extensively.
@vive: “DOMA didn’t even pass Congress with a veto-proof majority, and the bar for an amendment to the constitution is much higher than that.So it is false to claim, as someone did, that DOMA wasn’t passed with a veto-proof majority. That is nonsense. Clinton could easily have vetoed DOMA”
Roughly 81% of the entire Congress Voted for DOMA. It was indeed veto proof. Roughly 83% of the Sente voted for it and over 80% of the House voted for it. You only need 2/3 majority to overrride a veto and Congress would’ve certainly gotten that. In fact, whips in both chambers had signaled to their party leaders they had the votes to do so.
Ya know, this kind of reporting hack job is really terrible. Makes me think a Log Cabiner was behind the wheel… ya, know right before he steered this argument into the ditch.
Bill Clinton talked a good game about gay rights in his first presidential campaign, but he always wimped out when it came time to deliver. He could have vetoed DOMA and there were not enough votes to override the veto.
Also, if you insist that Clinton was forced by partisan political considerations to sign the bill, that doesn’t explain why he counseled John Kerry in the 2004 presidential campaign to oppose gay marriage.
It wasn’t until 2009 that he finally apologized for signing DOMA in an interview with Anderson Cooper,
OK, I was wrong and y’all were right — it DID pass with a veto-proof majority in both houses of Congress.
We can’t look back at the politics of the 1990s through the lens of today. I’m no Bill Clinton apologist, but it’s dishonest at the very least to accuse him of simple political expediency for signing DOMA into law. As others have pointed out, had Clinton not compromised on DOMA we would be facing a much larger and almost impossible obstacle to marriage equality: a federal constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage. It seems unfathomable today, but in the 1990s the threat of a Constitutional ban was very real and could very easily have gotten the support of enough state legislatures to become part of the Constitution. DOMA hurt us, but that small step backward launched us on the path that we are on today toward full marriage equality. Think about the challenge of getting Congress to agree to repeal an Amendment and then having to get 3/4 of the states to agree as well. That would be nearly impossible.
There is some ignorance here of how the system works. Even when there is a supermajority initially, presidential vetoes are seldom overridden – it is one thing for a Democratic member of Congress to vote for some legislation – it would have been something rather more serious for a Democratic member to override a veto exercised by a president of their own party.
Even if he didn’t have the balls to veto it, he could have simply not signed it and let it become law without his blessing, with little political risk. Clinton was at the time about 20 points ahead of Dole anyway.
As for the threat of a constitutional amendment, that was not on the radar at the time, so bringing that up is indeed very much revisionist. Talk of an amendment only came 8 years later during W’s administration.
@vive: When a bill reaches the president’s desk he is required by law to either sigh it or veto it in a timely manner. So no he couldn’t “simply not sign it.” And yes, there was talk of using a supermajority to override it even then. And that’s not what you originally said, you foolishly said it didn’t pass with a veto proof majority, which it most certainly did. If you don’t know the facts don’t try and list them, bc it doesn’t help your case when you get them wrong. And for the record, Clinton wasn’t 20 points over Dole then either. Anyone who has ever studied politics (or that election) knows that Clinton won by 9 percentage points and several polling outlets were getting ripped the entire year bc no one trusted their polls. Again, you’re wrong.
@charwegl, the president has the option to not sign a piece of legislation. Look it up.
@vive: In which case, he can only avoid doing so for a few days (a week and a half) while Congress is in session. And then if he doesn’t sign it after that it automatically becomes law.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a gift that Clinton bestowed upon us, a gift that keeps on giving. Never forget who the Republicans appointed.
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