history lessons

Bill Clinton Was Just Declared a Constitutional Violator. Is There A Worse Sin?

Is everyone still digesting yesterday’s news about DOMA’s Section 3 being declared unconstitutional? Me too! And it got me thinking: When federal Judge Joseph L. Tauro in Boston struck down the federal law — passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996 — he was also declaring that guy who got a beej from his intern violated the Constitution.

That’s, uh, kind of a big deal.

We’ve all gone after Clinton — and his useless minions, like Richard Socarides — for all his gay “compromises,” like Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and DOMA.

But what we have here is a federal court saying what lawmakers and the president colluded to do — deny federal recognition of same-sex marriages when the federal government isn’t supposed to be in the marriage business — went against the very principles the United States was founded on. Bill Clinton, and the Democrats and Republicans in the House (with a vote of 342-67) and the Senate (85-14), neglected their duties as elected officials to protect and uphold the Constitution.

It’s political malpractice, really. And this is just confirmation of the shameful stain that will forever linger over Clinton’s presidency.

Neither lawsuit that Tauro ruled on touched upon the language in DOMA that, notes the Times, says “states do not have to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. But if the cases make their way to the Supreme Court and are upheld, gay and lesbian couples in states that recognize same-sex marriage will be eligible for federal benefits that are now granted only to heterosexual married couples.” It’ll only be further confirmation that with one signature, Clinton broke his presidential oath.

Now it’s just a matter of time to see whether Barack Obama‘s Justice Department appeals the ruling. And continues Clinton’s anti-equality legacy.

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  • CJ

    Many remember that Clinton signed DOMA into law. But, many forget that 32 Democrats in the Senate also voted in favor of DOMA, including Biden, Byrd, Reid, Daschle, Leahy, Murray and Lieberman. In the House, 118 Democrats supported DOMA. Even today, we don’t have the full support of all Democrats for full equality, including Obama.

    What shocks me about these things is that these are our LAW MAKERS. These are the men and women that are supposed to know and uphold the law. Yet, they continue to deny equality AND even pass laws that are blatantly discriminatory. It’s like hiring a dentist that doesn’t know how to fix a cavity.

    Of course, we have the same discrimination that occurs on the state level.

    For whatever reason, lawmakers and citizens seem to want to forget the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution that guarantees equal protection under the law.

  • Alexa

    I think we should focus on the positive, and what people believe now, rather than worrying about the past. We need people to change, and anyone who does change their views is a good thing. Worrying about how they voted in the past is not productive, unless it’s to analyze why they changed and see if it can help us change more people’s minds.

  • Lanjier

    The Administration had the opportunity to undue DOMA, but instead got behind the 8 ball, bumping any possibility for repeal off the calendar and filing briefs defending the non-existent constitutionality of the law.

    Now the Federal courts are kicking Obama’s DOJ in the nuts, and he has to play tired, lying excuses, catch-up and cautious frightened kitty cat, instead of being out there in front on civil rights. Fucking loser.

  • rf

    to be fair, the founding fathers declared slaves to be worth only 3/5ths a person and women had no right to vote long after the civil war and the 14th amendment. clinton and now obama are weasels sure, but they’re just a continuation of americas checkered past. the only difference I see is that civil rights justice moves faster now. years and decades instead of decades and centuries. more thanks to the internet than the evolution of human behavior.

  • Brutus


  • Baxter

    Who cares about the Constitution anyway? Our current president has made it very clear that he thinks judges should rule based on their feelings, not on the actual law.

  • ewe

    What? You mean to say there are people who think Bill Clinton was the peoples president. I think not!!!

  • cr8nguy

    forgive me, but as i understand it, it was either DOMA, or the freak-tards were going to push for a constitutional ammendment. THAT would have been the end for a very long time. DOMA can be repealed and challenged in court (obviously). with the margain of passage, it is entirely probable that we would have ended up with an ammendment out of the congress….and quite likely the ratification would have happend. you only need 37-38 states, and there are more than that with bans. it sucked when he signed it, but he may have done us a favor in the long-term by avoiding the worse case scenario.

  • Griff

    It would be wrong for the gay community to judge the legacy of President Clinton, whom by nearly every other metric was a successful administration, by a single issue. It just allows our enemies to say that they were right when they attack us for being absurdly egocentric. It isn’t fair criticism at all, but I doesn’t help when we do things to make it seem accurate. President Clinton’s legacy is quite good compared to the historic cruelty of the Reagan era.

  • Steve


    DOMA was and has been the firewall protecting us against a Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex.

    Luckily with the shift in public opinion since DOMA was passed, we probably won’t see another push for a Constitutional Amendment…even if the November elections go south for the Democrats…although we will probably be looking at 2-6 years of a lame duck Obama presidency on any actually liberal issue (if Obama would address one).

    The passage of DOMA is why I almost prefer Republicans..you know where they stand if you’re wrong, it’s a pleasant surprise. With Democrats…

  • jason

    The act of signing a law that turns out to be unconstitutional does not mean the person violated the constitution. Queerty writers better take a basic Con Law course.

    All this article is is just another thing to complain about, because that’s all this site is about — complaining. They take a piece of good news that we should be celebrating (court ruling on DOMA) and find something/someone to bitch and moan about.

  • Ronbo

    You all are wrong. Bill was the best Republican for the job. You say he ran as a Democrat?!? The proof is in the pudding. Bill was (does) the best impression of a Republican (second to Obama) that I’ve seen. How far to the right can a Democrat go?

  • Ronbo


    Jason, call a spade a spade. Clinton is and was a bigot towards gays. He is a coulda been president. Coulda been the Gays fuckin’ Abraham Lincoln. Instead he chose bigotry. Let’s not celebrate his failures!

  • Bill Perdue

    @Ronbo: There aren’t any substantive differences between the two parties. Clinton isn’t a Republican he’s a Dixiecrat.

    And you’re right. both are religious bigots in practice no matter how many lying denials they issue. Of the two Obama is much the worse because he used to support same sex marriage but switched early on to pander to other religious bigots like himself.

    Obama is a supporter of Clinton’ DLC who sabotaged same sex marriage in California.


  • Bill Perdue

    @cr8nguy: @Steve: You two don’t understand anything and you’re lying if you claim that Democrats passed DOMA to prevent a federal constitutional DOMA. That’s simply not true.

    The 1996 DOMA was not a firewall, it was bigotry pure and simple. DOMA passed overwhelmingly with the support of bigots in both parties. The bill was passed by Congress by a vote of 85-14 in the Senate and a vote of 342-67 in the House of Representatives (Wiki). It was signed immediately by Bill Clinton, who then rushed to air a series of campaign ads on redneck radio boasting about his signature on DOMA, pro-redneck religious laws and against reproductive choice.

    The original Federal Marriage Amendment was first introduced in 2002, six years later by Ronnie Shows, another rancid bigoted Democrat. Later, in 2004, another foul bigot , GW Bush called for a constitutional amendment to take away our right to protect marriage.

    Clinton signing DOMA, 1996.


    George Bush proposes federal constitutional DOMA, 2004.


  • Bill Perdue

    @Alexa:That’s exactly the kind of clueless gobbledygook we heard from half-witted Democrats in 2008 who wanted us to vote for a bigot named Obama, Hopey Changey. And we heard it in 1992 by fools who wanted us to vote for Dixiecrat Bill Clinton.

    Republican politicians look you in the eye and call you a faggot, dyke or tranny. Democrat politicians wait till you leave the room, smirk, and then call you a faggot, dyke or tranny.

    In November we should boycott the twin parties of bigotry, refusing to vote for either. We should sit out the elections or vote for a socialist or left wing party.


  • Brutus

    @Bill Perdue: Nothing you said in that post contradicted the idea that DOMA was intended to stave off a Constitutional amendment, and may have done so.

  • Bill Perdue

    @Ronbo: This is a reply to Brutus.

    There was no threat of a constitutional amendment at the time. If you think there was then prove, but with anecdotal ‘evidence’.

    Clintons act was an act of pure bigotry.

  • CJ

    DOMA was a reactionary law of the 1990’s, much many other things we’ve seen since 9/11 in 2001.

    Invading Iraq was reactionary, as was the Patriot Act. Even Obama’s “jump start the economy” stimulus package was rushed through in a “panic” to solve America’s financial problems.

    With DOMA, Americans, in general, were fearful of gay marriage becoming “mandated” upon all states if just ONE state started permitting gay marriage. The country was “in fear” and our lawmakers attempted to put the brakes on gay marriage from being “forced upon” people that didn’t want it. However, instead of Clinton and others defending or explaining equality and constitutional rights, Clinton and lawmakers went along with these fears. The result was the passing of a reactionary and unconstitutional law. Of course, as the country becomes more comfortable to LGBT equality, more and more people (including the courts) are seeing that DOMA and DADT are discriminatory and irrational. But, as we know, many states are still living in fear AND oblivious to the fact that they’re passing unconstitutional laws.

    My guess is that in 50 years many people will look back on this in similar ways as to how we currently look back on the 1950’s and 1960’s (regarding race). It’s crazy how we’re repeating the past. It’s crazy how we pass discriminatory laws, only later to repeal them. Will we learn from our mistakes? Which minority group is next?

  • Pip

    Oh my God, get off the Clinton bashing. Jesus Christ, DOMA was written over a decade ago. Like, before Will and Grace was even a show on TV. Its a pretty deluded leap to color Bill Clinton as some crazy homophobic “Constitution violator.” Massachusetts was able to pass gay marriage under DOMA—the political effects of the country never having received DOMA are not measurable.

  • christopher di spirito

    Clinton threw the LGBT community under the bus.

    I will never understand why so many queers bow down to the Clintons — this pair is the most blindly ambitious political tag-team the U.S. political system has ever produced.

    Maybe if Billary hadn’t been so busy getting his fuck stick sucked by pudgy interns, he would’ve considered the implications of singing DOMA into law?

  • B

    No. 8 · cr8nguy wrote, “forgive me, but as i understand it, it was either DOMA, or the freak-tards were going to push for a constitutional ammendment.”

    It seems it was really presidential politics – the Republicans wanted to gay bash and rather than give them an issue for the upcoming presidential election. Clinton held his nose and signed the bill (“supporting” it to avoid giving the Republicans an election-year issue to use against him).

    According to http://newyorklawschool.typepad.com/leonardlink/2009/03/the-legal-challenge-to-doma-the-defense-of-marriage-act-is-filed.html

    “The Defense of Marriage Act was passed during the period of national hysteria coinciding with the first full-blown trial to be held in a case seeking marriage licenses for same-sex couples, the Baehr case in Hawaii. After a trial judge had initially dismissed the case for failing to state a valid legal claim, the Hawaii Supreme Court issued a ruling in 1993 reversing the trial court, holding that the plaintiffs had stated a potentially valid claim of sex discrimination under the Hawaii Constitution, and returned the case to the trial court. Pretrial discovery then consumed several years, and a trial was finally scheduled to be held in October 1996, falling into the middle of a national election year.

    “That spring, Republicans looking for an issue to use against incumbent President Bill Clinton raised the same-sex marriage issue during the presidential primary campaign season. Picking up on speculation in the press that a victory for same-sex marriage in Hawaii would see same-sex couples streaming to the Aloha State to wed and then returning home to demand that their marriages be reocgnized, the Republicans whipped up national hysteria about marriage policy being dictated to the entire country by the Hawaii courts. The leading Republican presidential candidate, Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, introduced the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” in Congress, and President Clinton, seeking to neutralize the issue, promptly announced his support for it. The statute was enacted shortly before the election.”

    There were proposed constitutional amendments but those were introduced later.

  • Merlyn


    I have always thought that DOMA was the best Clinton could do at the time. DOMA at least kept a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples at bay. These days, I suspect that getting such an amendment would be much more difficult due to changing public opinion on same-sex marriage. I am not a huge fan of Clinton (though he was way better than the Shrub) but I think this was honestly the best he could do at the time.

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