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Bill Clinton: 'New York's Welcome Must Include Marriage Equality'

Former President Bill Clinton voices his support for passage of marriage equality in New York in a statement to New Yorkers for Marriage Equality:

Clinton Our nation's permanent mission is to form a ‘more perfect union’ - deepening the meaning of freedom, broadening the reach of opportunity, strengthening the bonds of community. That mission has inspired and empowered us to extend rights to people previously denied them. Every time we have done that, it has strengthened our nation. Now we should do it again, in New York, with marriage equality. For more than a century, our Statue of Liberty has welcomed all kinds of people from all over the world yearning to be free. In the 21st century, I believe New York's welcome must include marriage equality.

Clinton's daughter Chelsea recently did the same at an event for new advocacy group Friendfactor at its New York launch on Tuesday. Watch video here.

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  1. This from the man who created DOMA

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | May 5, 2011 9:36:55 AM

  2. David Ehrenstein,

    You nailed it.

    Posted by: brian | May 5, 2011 9:41:16 AM

  3. He doesn't want to be remembered for what he is - a Dixiecrat bigot.

    Posted by: Bill Perdue | May 5, 2011 9:45:02 AM

  4. Well, he's evolved. His present support of equality doesn't erase DOMA, or exempt him from criticism, but his support and influence are important.

    Posted by: Ernie | May 5, 2011 9:52:28 AM

  5. DOMA was created by Georgia Representative Bob Barr. Authoring a bill and signing it into law are not even remotely the same thing.

    But one wouldn't expect intellectually challenged people like David Ehrenstein to understand the basic principles of our legislative process.

    Posted by: nodnarb | May 5, 2011 10:06:14 AM

  6. I think it's become quite obvious that Clinton's opinions and thoughts on the matter of homosexuals has indeed changed. Doesn't make what he's done in the past right, but he's one of the biggest names out there supporting same sex marriage so he should get some support.

    I mean, the reason the polls now show more people are in support for same sex marriage is because their opinions CHANGED. Clinton is just one of many. Are we going to chastise every single person who now supports us because earlier in their lives they did not?

    Posted by: Glenn | May 5, 2011 10:09:31 AM

  7. Why do our most politically powerful advocates all have the word "Former" in front of their titles? Just as FORMER President Barack Obama, and FORMER Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, will?

    And for the record, Bill Clinton did not CREATE DOMA, but he did sign it and he did brag about it in his next presidential campaign. That is a fact of history. Nonetheless, I see a lot of value in his very public "evolved" position.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | May 5, 2011 10:13:20 AM

  8. Bill Clinton hasn't evolved at all. His positions are purely the result of circumstance. He is all about self-promotion.

    If he sees a benefit in changing his viewpoint, he will again revert to his DOMA-loving ways. Don't trust him.

    Posted by: brian | May 5, 2011 10:18:54 AM

  9. I know, Brian. Bill's really pushing his new album with Lady Gaga.

    Posted by: nodnarb | May 5, 2011 10:27:25 AM

  10. "Bill Clinton hasn't evolved at all."

    Do you live inside Bill Clinton's mind? But, the truth is, even if he hasn't evolved (though at this point it serves no purpose for him to lie about it), his public statements have evolved, and Bill Clinton's public statements are what matter. And, if he only evolved because he thinks it's politically advantageous for him to do so, that's a win for us, too. Whatever one thinks of Bill, unless you're desperately seeking out a negative spin, this is a good thing for us.

    Posted by: Ernie | May 5, 2011 10:30:10 AM

  11. If he was more that just a attention grabing cowardly bigot politician he would be on the forefront in getting rid of that disgracefull doma law he signed and BRAGGED about by pulling every favor and contact he has at his disposal.

    Posted by: curtis | May 5, 2011 10:32:18 AM

  12. Good work "NARDNOB." As everyone should knowBubba was "forced" to do something he never really wanted to do by those evil Republicans -- like that High Yaller doofus Bob Barr. Had they left him alone he would have been a ferevnt supporter of our rights and nto created "Don't Ask Don't Tell" either.

    Oh The Humanity!

    (Cue Kate Smith)

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | May 5, 2011 10:33:51 AM

  13. @ David

    If President Clinton had not signed DOMA into law we would have been looking at a constitutional amendment fight and given the number of states that have passed such amendments locally it is a fight that we would have lost period. You may view his actions however you please, but the reality is that DOMA, as vile as it is, was a far better option than making discrimination a part of the highest law of the land.

    As for Don't Ask, Don't Tell I recall at the time many people celebrated it as a victory since even that was a step up from where we were previously. Though yes it was short of the full integration he had promised during his campaign. President Clinton could not have foreseen the fall out of implementation.

    President Clinton has always been a friend of our community and any attempt to say otherwise is revisionist at best. He did what was possible in the climate of the time, no man is an island outside of his circumstances.

    I for one welcome his continued and ever increasing support.

    Posted by: Kas | May 5, 2011 11:20:36 AM

  14. Ehrenstein, Bill, Ernie, etc.:

    You do realize that DOMA passed with the support of 80% of Congress? Including our beloved VP Joe Biden? And the point of vetoing a bill with that much support would be? Besides a certain veto override?

    Kas is correct. It was either DOMA or a constitutional amendment. Take your pick. Do you remember that Miss Ehrensten ... or was that too many vodka tonics ago?

    And Ehrenstein, speaking as a Black gay man, your mammy act on Towleroad and Datalounge is revolting.

    Posted by: Dalton | May 5, 2011 12:00:04 PM

  15. Bill Clinton is a charlatan. He takes the most pressing issues of our times and minimilizes them all into slogans and sound bites.

    Posted by: ewe | May 5, 2011 12:03:21 PM

  16. KAS

    "If President Clinton had not signed DOMA into law we would have been looking at a constitutional amendment"


    If Clinton had not signed DOMA into law, it would have gone back to the Senate where, just like the first time, it would have been voted on the floor again and passed with 85 votes. That is 17 votes more than the minimum of 67 needed to override the President's veto. DOMA would have become law with or without Clinton's approval.

    Still, Clinton should have vetoed it just because it was the right thing to do: stand up for a discriminated minority. But then that was September of 2006 and he was running for re-election in November. What politican of today won't throw gays under the bus when his re-election is at stake?

    Like it or not folks, America is deeply homophobic. I don't care that polls show a slight majority of public support gay marriage. The only true test of ardent public support is whether a candidate running for any office in most jurisdictions can openly support gay marriage and still hope to be elected. The answer is NO in most jurisdictions. Sad but still true!

    Posted by: Mark | May 5, 2011 12:03:24 PM

  17. I meant September of 1996 in my last post, not 2006. I'm pretty sure you all figured that.

    Posted by: Mark | May 5, 2011 12:06:04 PM

  18. Mark: We can also figure out that you give up and quit at the drop of a hat. Because... (how did you put it) all those terrible people just don't like us. Tough. Have you heard of equality. It's the basis of the "gay agenda." DARLING.

    Posted by: ewe | May 5, 2011 12:12:12 PM

  19. In 1996, the U.S. population was solidly against marriage equality. I don't think that means that most Americans were evil in 1996, but that the idea was very new in 1996. The Netherlands was the first country in modern times to adopt marriage equality in 2001. Your neighbors and co-workers here in the U.S. might be pro-equality now (by a growing margin), but they sure weren't in 1996. If Bill Clinton had refused to sign DOMA, he would have lost the 1996 election to Bob Dole. So we have three individual cases now.

    (1) Bill Clinton is for marriage equality.
    (2) Obama hasn't made up his mind yet.
    (3) Hillary Clinton *has* made up her mind: she's against marriage equality.

    Bill Clinton's recent acceptance of common sense should push Obama to evolve way faster. Fortunately for the cause of marriage equality, Hillary's not in charge. She's stuck back in 1996 and may always be.

    Posted by: Phil | May 5, 2011 12:18:26 PM

  20. Phil: you keep on voting democrat and hope forever and ever that those liars "give" you what they take for granted. It's nonsense. Stop protecting these horrid people. For years and years, the same endless empty talk. Enough already. We should not give our support to the democratic party that fails to represent us. Stop promoting the same ol tennis volley. I have no doubt people will fall right in line with the rhetoric pushing the lesser of two evils. It's still evil. Republicans as well as democrats. Who cares what prior politicians think. It has no bearing on policy. It's fluff news.

    Posted by: ewe | May 5, 2011 12:31:05 PM

  21. @Ewe. Democrats are far from the "lesser evil". While not perfect, they are far more progressive and far more gay friendly. As someone points out above, even Dont Ask Dont Tell was the result of an attempt by a Democrat (in 1996!)- Bill Clinton - to repeal the ban and his efforts were thwarted by - guess who - Republicans. DOMA was flat out wrong - but if Bill Clinton has evolved then I will happily accept him at his word (and his actions). Look at the platforms of the two parties and look at their leading politicians and records. If you dont see a significant difference - not just a lesser evil - you are not looking.

    Posted by: John | May 5, 2011 12:47:41 PM

  22. @ Ewe,

    I reread my post, and I can't see where it specifically suggests to vote Democrat. I think that Bob Dole would have been much more homophobic than Bill Clinton, if that's what you mean. This is obvious simply because the Republican base is filled with anti-gay haters.

    Do you want to use some new strategies? I'll go along with that. I hope you don't mean not voting. I can't see that as a legitimate strategy any more than voting for an obscure third-party presidential candidate, which is the functional equivalent of not voting.

    How about this for an idea? Rush Limbaugh is always telling Republican voters to register as Democrats in any primary race where the Republican primary is a non-event. He tells them to vote for whoever is *not* the frontrunner just to do damage to the Democratic Party's chances in the general election. Why not do the same thing and vote for the openly-gay candidate, Fred Karger, in the Republican primary. He's already outpolling Rudy Giuliani in the Republican field. "Mainstream" anti-gay Republican candidates would have to debate Karger. It would turn the haters show into a fiasco. And then when the Republicans nominated their favorite hater, you could vote against the Republican hater in the general election. Now doesn't that sound like more fun than sitting at home or voting for Ralph Nader in November?

    Posted by: Phil | May 5, 2011 1:23:30 PM

  23. Does anyone here actually believe that the position of the Democrats and Republicans are equivalent? The primary complaint I am hearing is that the Democrats are not supportive enough or vocal enough. I would like things to change faster but the Dems can't push the laws if they lose the elections. In a perfect world, our equality would be a given but we don't live in that utopia. Politics is the art of the possible and I think the rate of change is amazing. Regarding President Clinton, I am pleased to have such a competent ally now vocally on our side. Regarding the need to tirelessly support Obama 2012 I will only say Supreme Court.

    Posted by: Austin | May 5, 2011 1:26:33 PM

  24. @Mark

    There was a significant degree of discussion at the time about a federal anti-gay marriage amendment. You are correct that a senate override was a likely (probably inevitable) outcome but far from correct about a constitutional amendment being unlikely. It was not likely to stop there and a veto would have been an excellent impetus for an amendment.

    I can already envision your response, "but...but...I capitalized it so you have to be wrong!"

    Posted by: Kas | May 5, 2011 1:27:43 PM

  25. John: Oh gee gay friendly you say? Do i get a gold or yellow or pink star for being straight friendly? How big of me to support equality for straight people. All i am saying is that you are making excuses for ignorance by telling everyone it's going to take time. Have you heard of "indivisible with liberty and justice for all?" not liberty and justice dependent on gay friendly people!!! It doesn't matter to me and doesn't matter at all in any way whether or not you accept Bill Clintons "evolving" thoughts. It's meaningless.

    Posted by: ewe | May 5, 2011 1:33:42 PM

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