ted kennedy

‘I don’t remember the exact details, but I think the story involved Tiberius Julius Caesar being captured and abused and used as a sex slave’

SOUNDBITES — “I’ll never forget one of my first meetings with Clinton in the White House. He had walked into a firestorm over the question of whether gays should be allowed to serve in the military. He’d invited all the Democratic members of the Armed Services Committee to this gathering. He went around the room, asking everyone’s opinion about gays in the military. Some senators gave long answers. Some were terse. Some were flowery and revealing, and others held their cards close to their vest. It added up to a very lengthy meeting. I remember it well partly because Vicki and I had tickets to the ballet that night. Baryshnikov was dancing at the Warner Theatre. I’d told Vicki to go ahead and that I’d meet her there when I could. But the meeting went on and on, for more than two hours – extraordinary by White House standards. Finally, my turn to speak came. I made a brief comment in support of allowing gays in the military, in which I mentioned that all the arguments against such a policy had already been made….Well, I was wrong about that. Almost all the arguments had been used before. The last senator to speak was Robert Byrd, and he came up with a new one on all of us…..He informed us, with many ornate flourishes, that there had been a terrible problem in ancient Rome with young military boys turned into sex slaves. I don’t remember the exact details, but I think the story involved Tiberius Julius Caesar being captured and abused and used as a sex slave. He escaped and then years later he sought vengeance and killed his captors. Anyway, it was something like that. The room fell silent. The senator continued. Then President Clinton stood up. His response was short and sweet. ‘Well,’ he said. ‘Moses went up to the mountain, and he came back with the tablets and there were ten commandments on those tablets. I’ve read those commandments. I know what they say, just like I know you do. And nowhere in those ten commandments will you find anything about homosexuality. Thank y’all for coming.’ He ended the meeting and walked out of the room.” —Ted Kennedy, in his memoir True Compass, recalling the former president’s M.O. for dealing with the military’s gays