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Bill Clinton Position 'Evolving' on Same-Sex Marriage


ABC News reports on the George W. Bush - Bill Clinton "A Conversation with Presidents" speaking tour that kicked off in Toronto Friday night. One of the topics was gay rights:

"And while President Clinton mostly kept to his promise to 'thwart' efforts to get 42 and 43 to tangle with each other, he offered an interesting insight into his thinking on gay rights. On the issue of gay marriage -- which Clinton, like President Obama, personally opposes -- Clinton said of his position: 'Frankly, it's evolving' as he sees more committed gay couples raising kids. As ABC political director David Chalian has pointed out, Clinton isn’t the only Democrat whose position on gay marriage is moving. Clinton also expressed optimism that the military’s 'don’t ask, don’t tell policy' -- which he helped enact -- will eventually come off the books, allowing gay members of the armed services to serve openly. 'I think that time will lead to a repeal of this ban,' Clinton said. That’s one of many areas where the former presidents disagree. But mostly, this event was a lovefest."

The 6,000-person event at the Convention Centre was sold out, and attracted a few hundred protestors.

(via world of wonder)

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  1. As though Clinton wrote DADT and DOMA. Sure, he should have vetoed them---but the outcome would have been the same under Congress at the time.

    And as though 98% of people have any idea what Ricardo is talking about.

    Gosh, we'd be so much better off with some of you commenters running the show. Are all of you even registered to vote? Much less, do you actually vote? You're certainly all plenty ready to bitch. Clinton was last in office nearly 10 years ago, and entered office nearly 20 years ago. They are ALL politicians, and if you can't make a convincing case for them, they aren't going to make one for you.

    A third of gays still vote Republican, and another third don't vote. Fix that instead of bitching at Democrats.

    Posted by: Geronimo | May 30, 2009 7:35:10 PM

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  3. Geronimo,

    And because of that apathy, gays are really not in a position to change the outcome of all but the closest electoral contests.

    We're talking about a shift of around one percent towards the Democrats. If even that in some of the more conservative states, where they're just as likely to vote for the Republican candidate. Thus, all these threats of "queer power" against the Democratic Party are thus quite illogical and empty.

    Posted by: John | May 31, 2009 2:05:24 AM

  4. Ok, look. The best way to change things as of now is to get involved in local politics. I myself am, leading a group here in Las Vegas at the end of June to help figure out how we LGBT folks can get involved from precinct captains on up. PLEASE, wherever you are, go to your local Democratic or Stonewall party office and find out how you can get involved locally. I f'in tired of asking for scraps, I want the full meal. Earn it and no one can deny you a place at the table.

    If you are in Las Vegas and want to get involved, let me know.

    Btw, tonight, our State Senate overrode our Governors veto of The Domestic Partnership Bill! We have to let them know how proud we are. Please write all Nevada legislators who voted to do this and say thanks!

    Posted by: Derek Washington | May 31, 2009 5:28:57 AM

  5. "As though Clinton wrote DADT and DOMA. Sure, he should have vetoed them---but the outcome would have been the same under Congress at the time."

    If Clinton had vetoed DADT and DOMA, Congress had more than enough votes to override his vetoes. He was not going to waste precious political capital on gay people. To what end?

    Posted by: elg | May 31, 2009 5:54:01 AM

  6. Bill deserves a bit more credit than some are willing to give. Clinton was one of the first, if not the first, to stand up againt homophobia during the early AIDS epidemic and urge people to show compassion. And DADT was the first and only military program that allowed gay soldiers to serve, it was a bad compramise, but NO OTHER president had even made an effort before then. Was bill the best? NO But he was by no means the worst. Not even close.

    Posted by: Wayne | May 31, 2009 6:21:03 AM

  7. does this guy know how much heat pres obama is getting to clean up his mess called DADT, DOMA? Does he know?. Obama has been called all names in the book thanks to the clinton era called DADT and DOMA. he really needs to zip it now.

    Posted by: andrew | May 31, 2009 9:37:03 AM

  8. Dan Choi should really be protesting bill clinton . Clinton is the one behind DADT.

    Posted by: Anna | May 31, 2009 9:42:27 AM

  9. No anna, Obama is the one who wrote DADT and DOMA 10 years ago, not saint Clinton. Don't you remember? Clinton is not homophobic. Its Barack Hussein who is the most homophobic president ever, and he ought to know better.

    Posted by: Davon | May 31, 2009 9:48:58 AM

  10. Bush and Clinton together? how nice. after screwing us over they can have a laugh. nice

    Posted by: gayrepublican | May 31, 2009 9:54:06 AM

  11. = Michael Bedwell = Leland Frances = Incoherent Bitter Queen on Castro Street #837

    If Obama had signed either DOMA or DADT into law Ms. Leland would sca-REECHING from the rafters, claiming it the most cotemptible thing he had ever witnessed.

    But because Ms. Bedwell (of the house of Leland) simply adores that lilting Southern accent, he handwaves it away because Billyboy did it.

    Posted by: LightningLord | May 31, 2009 10:08:00 AM

  12. @LIGHTNINGLORD. Me cosigns. Me cosigns.

    Posted by: anna | May 31, 2009 10:19:45 AM

  13. people who blame bill clinton for DADT and DOMA betray an abysmal ignorance of recent history and politics. the president is not an emperor, nitwits. 16 years ago, DADT was viewed as a compromise between what clinton wanted (getting rid of the ban on gays in the military) and what congress was willing to do. DOMA was a way to keep from amending the constitution to ban same-sex marriage. what you should know is that an amendment is much harder to undo than an act of congress.

    together, the clinton's brought to the fore the conversation on gay rights and universal health care. i think that were it not for them, we might be still be in the dark ages. it is for obama to further those causes. to continue to criticize the clintons is not only stupid, but counter-productive.

    are leland (in all his permutations) and i the only smart people on this thread. wise-up bithches, or stfu!

    Posted by: nic | May 31, 2009 2:05:50 PM

  14. Nic,

    Clinton did indeed make history for gay rights and that should not be forgotten. But his legacy on gay rights is letting the bigots win every battle. And he certainly agrees with you and Michael and Leland etc. that he was a-okay on gay issues. Obama is certainly following his lead, so apparently the majority of the Democratic party thinks Clinton has been just fine on gay issues.

    He sold us down the river, just like the current Vice President whose primary legacy on gay rights thus far is his vote is favor of DOMA.

    Most significantly, he laid out the gameplay that Rahm is following in the White House's dealings on gays: promise, delay, betray. Obama is treating us like this because Clinton taught him too.

    He's just a gift

    Posted by: Landon Bryce | May 31, 2009 2:41:22 PM

  15. Lightningbladder, I'm sorry to have to, once again, knock that fresh pitcher of Kool Aid out of your hand with a few facts, really, really I am, but please don't put words...or anything my mouth.

    FACT 1: Though Congress would have overridden his SYMBOLIC vetoes with the same wide margins they passed the bills THEY wrote I have never "waved away" his signing them.

    FACT 2: At THIS point in time, Clinton still has more good things he has DONE for gays on his record than Obama has. NO, Landon, he did NOT let the bigots win every battle. Ask former Asst. Secty of HUD Roberta Achtenberg, whom Jesse Helms fought against as "that damn lesbian"; ask former US Ambassador James Hormel, that the bigots also tried to stop; or US Envoy Bob Farmer; the first gay federal judges he appointed; all the civilian federal employees who were protected by his executive order....AND things he TRIED to do like ending the FIFTY-YR. OLD ban on gays in the military. That could easily change, if Obama takes his promises...and his balls....out of hiding.

    FACT 2b: Before another willfully ignorant Obama apparatchik again squeals that he at least deserves that statue built to him because of the gays he's hired...Satan er Clinton did it first and most of O's biggest hires were cribbed from a list of gays who'd worked for Clinton.

    FACT 2c: Before a similar Obambot bleats, "but he hasn't done the bad things to us that Clinton did," besides the laughable, pitiable "you luv your husband because he hasn't hit you?" aspect, let's deconstruct what those bad things are supposed to be:

    (1) His superfluous signing of DOMA aside...a law that functionally CHANGED NOTHING in that gays never had ANY marriage rights BEFORE it...he's flamed for "pro DOMA" commercials that ran a few times in the Donnie McClurkin South [ooops, did I say that?]. They were wrong, but not as inexcusable and self-serving as Obama campaigning from sea to homophobic sea for FOUR YEARS [including his Senate race] while preaching against marriage equality because "I'm a Christian...God is in the mix...amen blah blah."

    No other Dem candidate wrapped their opposition in the Bible.

    It wasn't a recording of THEIR opposition to marriage that the Yes on H8TERS used to in robocalls that helped pass H8TE; it was OBAMA's "God" mix tape. And who fought against H8TE in robocalls by the No side?...wait for it.....BILL CLINTON.

    Then there's that little thingy about Obama going back to the poison well three months ago to insert ANOTHER condemnation of marriage equality in his weak-kneed statement about the Iowa decision. More Kool Aid, anyone?

    (2) Clinton tried to end the ban on gays in the military but was beaten by Congress in a evil alliance with the Pentagon and Antigay Industry.

    16 years later, when most of those Congressional opponents and much of the Antigay Industry are out to pasture or dead, when as much as 81st of voters now APPROVE of gays in the military, Obama hasn't EVEN tried ... addition to REFUSING to use the CONGRESSIONALLY-mandated power HE has to freeze discharges....HE is going to DEFEND the ongoing discharges IN COURT.

    FACT 3: One thing Clinton didn't do...HE didn't further the career of the most successful preacher in the hate biz Rick "Gay Equal Pedophilia" Warren by annointing his to pray for him at HIS Inaugural.

    That's some hat er hero ya got there, Harry!

    PS: Allegedly, another "statement" is soon to shoot from deep in the Obama Borg Hive about the 40th Anniverary of Stonewall.

    I suggest a drinking game: one shot for every time he uses a meaningless verb like "supports" or future tense [aka "pie in the sky"] pious phrases like, "We must blah this and blah that."

    DON'T look for a Presidential declaration of June as LGBT Pride Month, which....wait for it....Clinton did twice, however late.

    DON'T look for the First Lady in a pride parade anywhere even tho Mrs. Satan did that [despite the damage it could do to her plans to run for office].

    BUT based on the "Obama Is the Best President for Gays EVER" title, shouldn't we look for BOTH Mr. & Mrs. in a pride parade?

    Just asking.

    Posted by: Michael @ | May 31, 2009 3:01:41 PM

  16. ELG, we're making the same point. Mine was perhaps not clear enough, but when I said, "he should have vetoed them---but the outcome would have been the same under Congress at the time," I meant that the vetos would have been useless (or, as others have said, merely symbolic).

    No matter how you feel about the Clintons, they are both remarkably shrewd politicians---in the best and worst senses of the word. I'm sure that both are far more liberal than they're willing to admit, but they also know that to have power, they have to compromise. Timing is everything in politics, and in the early and mid-1990s (DADT, DOMA) the country and Congress was much less gay-friendly.

    As for Bill hanging out with Bush Sr., they've been doing that for years. Perhaps not socially, but on causes like the Southeast Asian tsunami and a few other charity efforts. Bush almost certainly realizes that Bill did a great job of redeeming himself by creating a charity that amasses enormous amounts of money and influences policymakers around the world. By comparison, Bush gets to come home to Babs and ruminate on his failures and those of W.

    Posted by: Geronimo | May 31, 2009 3:42:23 PM

  17. "Bill Clinton to lead HIV/AIDS fundraiser
    New York gala to focus on helping black Americans
    NEW YORK (AP)May 29 2009, 1:42 PM

    Former President Bill Clinton will lead a major fundraiser in New York City to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS among black Americans.

    Clinton is chairing the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS' benefit gala next week.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that while blacks represent 13 percent of the U.S. population they account for nearly half of people with HIV/AIDS. They also die more often from AIDS-related illnesses than other racial and ethnic groups."


    Obama AIDS Budget

    "To the disappointment of some AIDS advocacy groups, Obama's budget calls for leaving the funding level for the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Housing Opportunities for People With AIDS program, known as HOPWA, at the same level as the current fiscal year – $310 million. The program subsidizes housing for low-income people with AIDS.

    AIDS advocacy groups were also disappointed that the president did not include language in his proposed budget calling for lifting a longstanding ban on federal funds to pay for syringe exchange programs aimed at curtailing the spread of HIV among injection drug users.

    The $107 million funding increase proposed by the Obama administration for CDC and Ryan White related programs falls considerably short of the suggested funding level for the two agencies made last fall by a coalition of more than 100 national, state, and local AIDS and LGBT advocacy organizations.

    AIDS Action, AIDS Institute, the Human Rights Campaign and others called for an $877 million increase in CDC funding for HIV prevention and surveillance programs for fiscal year 2010. The groups called for an overall funding increase in FY 2010 of $614.5 million for the Ryan White program.

    Carl Schmid, director of federal affairs for the AIDS Institute, said the CDC itself came up with the $877 figure as an estimate of what would be needed to reduce the number of new HIV infections in the country by half by the year 2020.

    One organization that advocates for global AIDS relief, Health Global Access Project, said the Obama proposal represents a decrease of $6.6 billion from the funding level authorized by Congress for global HIV and tuberculosis programs when it renewed the U.S. global health program last year."

    Posted by: Michael @ | May 31, 2009 3:57:17 PM

  18. Michael:

    Yes, I am right: Rahm is following Clinton's policies on gay issues precisely. Thanks for acknowledging it!

    I'll be VERY surprised if we don't see something that is not quite a proclamation of pride but suggests vaguely that people should perhaps not be mean to gay people. And the Obots will behave as though he actually did something.

    And you will have some interesting and worthwhile things to say, but you will drown them out with volume and bile.

    Posted by: Landon Bryce | May 31, 2009 4:24:48 PM

  19. @Michael

    Thanks for that note of Clinton v. Obama on AIDS. In fact, I knew about the Obama cuts but not the Clinton fundraiser.

    Of course a lot of that, too, has to do with some patching up that Bill needs to do in the African American community too (which has forgiven and has fallen back in love with Hillary Clinton).

    And really, black gay communities are hopping mad about Obama's decision but it is also entirely possible that decision was influenced both by Rahm and Josh DuBois. Which is so not in keeping with the tradition that Obama would have learned at Trinity here in Chicago.

    The black straight "churched" community? I. Don't. Want. To. Even. Go. There.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | May 31, 2009 8:37:12 PM

  20. so, LANDON BRYCE, when do we stop blaming Clinton for doing what was possible at that time? as the late, great texas gal, molly ivans, used to say, "politics is always half a loaf." i mention her often because people have short memories and/or short attention spans and they forget out of ignorance or convenience that history is a continuum. no presidential administration exists in a vacuum. if obama has learned anything from the clintons, it is that he cannot force an issue to its crisis as they did with gays in the military and health care. the repugs and people in their own party crapped all over them for that. the fact that the clintons survive, indeed continue to thrive, is a testament to their tenacity, adaptability and intelligence. i don't like everything about obama. he has to own his missteps and mistakes. but, i will bide my time on judging him. meanwhile, please, let's stop blaming bill clinton for what's happening now.

    Posted by: nic | May 31, 2009 11:56:10 PM

  21. well la di dah. my position on DOMA, DADT and getting blowjobs in the closet is fully evolved. bubba can kiss my gay ass.

    Posted by: psgoodguy | Jun 1, 2009 12:04:50 AM

  22. @ Michael @ And your point is??????

    There is no level to who does wrong between Clinton, Bush, and Obama.

    They have all done us Gays wrong so please stop trying measure the wrong doings.

    Posted by: Chris_Yes that one | Jun 1, 2009 1:09:04 AM


    are you saying that there is no level in the gravity of harmfulness among the three? you can't be that obtuse. as i said b4, wise up or stfu.

    Posted by: nic | Jun 1, 2009 4:43:35 AM

  24. NIC,

    You're a true idiot online talking like you can box it out telling folks stfu. Save that vitriol for Mommy! We don't need folks talking to people like that on here.

    Posted by: chocolatebear | Jun 1, 2009 7:38:15 AM

  25. That's the problem with evolution... it takes too long. What is the timeframe for serious change? Clinton and Obama can
    evolve on this (extended middle finger). Empty promises. Wasted votes. Still cannot be married. Good people are being thrown out of the services.

    Posted by: 2nd Class Citizen | Jun 1, 2009 9:20:20 AM

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