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.

Comments

  1. Bill Perdue says

    He doesn’t want to be remembered for what he is – a Dixiecrat bigot.

  2. says

    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.

  3. nodnarb says

    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.

  4. says

    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?

  5. TampaZeke says

    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.

  6. brian says

    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.

  7. says

    “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.

  8. curtis says

    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.

  9. says

    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)

  10. Kas says

    @ 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.

  11. Dalton says

    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.

  12. ewe says

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

  13. Mark says

    KAS

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

    WRONG!

    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!

  14. Mark says

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

  15. ewe says

    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.

  16. Phil says

    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.

  17. ewe says

    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.

  18. John says

    @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.

  19. Phil says

    @ 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?

  20. Austin says

    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.

  21. Kas says

    @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!”

  22. ewe says

    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.

  23. ewe says

    Phil: That’s what you meant regarding Dole. Not me. Voting third party is not obscure because voting for who one wants and for issues that effect people and matter greatly in their personal lives is not throwing spit in the wind. Your alternative seems to be “vote out of fear not principle.” That may be you. That’s fine. People have been saying your tired ol BS line for so long that we have no real choices. That way of thinking promotes stagnation. It fosters never ever getting anywhere. Lastly, i do not consider my civil rights and the lack thereof to be fun in any way. It is not a game for me. Nothing i do is correlated with “more fun than sitting at home or voting for Ralph Nader in November.” I can be condescending too. Bill Clinton and his thoughts are meaningless to us. His time is over.

  24. Josh G. says

    “Does anyone here actually believe that the position of the Democrats and Republicans are equivalent?”

    Yes. Isn’t that horrifying? But you only need to look at progressive LGBT blogs to see that prior to the 2010 elections, there were lots of folks arguing just that.

    And now the true differences are there for all to see.

    But some persist in this ridiculous argument.

    As for President Clinton, it is clear from many of the posts here that you have never met the man, never discussed LGBT issues with him and have no insight into the reasons behind the passage of both DADT and DOMA.

    Your ignorance is stunning.

  25. ewe says

    Clinton is responsible for DOMA and DADT. Clinton is responsible for Rwanda and he knows it. The best thing he did was create a Dotcom bubble that BURST. He no longer effects policy. His image is one of old man globetrotting around pontificating to those who stare in silence to him wagging his thumb around.

  26. ewe says

    Austin: Two different political parties that do not demand the implementation of equality for all do not have to be the same. It still makes both of them bad choices.

  27. Mark says

    KAS

    Can you construct an argument without your Ego being involved in it? I said you were “wrong” about the constitutional amendment assertion but I didn’t etch it in stone. If evidence shows I’m wrong, I’ll happily acknowledge it.

    I never said republicans would never turn to a consitutional amendment. Just that in 1996 that action wasn’t necessary. Taking a second vote on DOMA and passing it on the senate floor to override Clinton’s veto would have accomplished the same goal as a constitutional amendment, with much less work. A second vote on DOMA would have taken one day at most. A constitutional amendment would have taken months (drafting it, getting it passed by the House and Senate and then taking it to the state legislatures and getting it ratified by three quarters of them).

    Republicans don’t have that much patience. If they can accomplish the same thing in one day with DOMA, they’ll go for the easier path of DOMA. Their hatred of gays won’t let them wait months to accomplish the feat. DOMA promised the delegitimizing of gays in almost no time. Republicans are crazy, not stupid.

  28. Austin says

    Ewe: I don’t believe you have the correct analogy. One party is actively supporting equality while the other party is actively opposing it. Look at the hatefull legislation proposed in the states which suddenly have Republican majorities following the 2010 elections.

  29. Phil says

    @ Ewe,

    Re: Your quote, “Voting third party is not obscure”

    Maybe not in Italy, but it is obscure in an American presidential race, and that has been the case throughout American history. Even when the Whig party existed, it existed within the framework of a two-party system because the Republican Party had not been founded yet. You do not live in Italy. The need to realize that is not condescending or stagnation. The U.S. has never had a multi-party system at the national level. Pretending that it does gives a helping hand to Republican haters.

  30. says

    “Bill Clinton and his thoughts are meaningless to us. His time is over.”

    His thoughts may be meaningless to you, but his words still matter to the Democrats in power in NY, and, frankly, they’re the ones who will be voting on marriage equality, not you, Ewe.

    And, let’s be clear, marriage equality will pass in NY because of the support of a Democratic governor and the Democrats in the legislature. The Dem’s can indeed be wimps, and should be held accountable for that, but all legislative progress on gay rights has been because of Democrats. My state has marriage equality because of Democrats and in spite of Republicans. Therein lies the difference between the parties.

    Those who evolve in our favor–and still hold political influence, as Bill Clinton does–should be encouraged. If we depend only on politicians who were in support of full marriage equality circa 1995, we won’t get very far.

  31. ewe says

    Phil You say “Pretending that it does gives a helping hand to Republican haters.”
    Go somewhere else with your oppressive ideology. It is nothing but a fear tactic. TIRED!!!

  32. ewe says

    Phil: i can tell you will support the democratic ticket and the democratic incumbent will look the camera in the eye and say that gay people are second class citizens. Not in those words but in that sentiment. So spare me about who hates who more. I don’t need to change your mind and you don’t need to change mine. Vote for who you want and kindly support the right of others to do the same and enjoy the same right without your dismissiveness. thanks.

  33. ewe says

    Ernie: Bill Clinton is not voting in NY either. Do you know who he is going to influence? I didn’t think so. You like to be stepped on?

  34. ewe says

    Ernie: Bill Clinton should just come out and say he oppressed gay people while in office because he was playing politics and that is what one must do in order to win. If he said that then everyone would take notice and more people would respect his “new found truth.”

  35. Zefra Kinkade says

    How big of you Mr. Clinton – now that you don’t have any power to make a real change.

  36. Kas says

    @Mark

    My ego was not involved in my response in any significant way. I acknowledged your point about an override vote and then went on to point out that there was significant national conversation about an amendment at the time.

    I also chided you for formating your original post since it was hardly conducive to a discussion. Perhaps it was somewhat immature to respond to your poor manners in kind. This is the internet, though, and people tend to treat you with same degree of courtesy that you offer them.

  37. says

    “Ernie: Bill Clinton is not voting in NY either. Do you know who he is going to influence? I didn’t think so. You like to be stepped on?”

    Not really sure who you think is stepping on me? I live in the most pro-gay state in the US thanks to successful lobbying efforts and fair-minded Democratic lawmakers. The bigots got stepped on where I live, thanks to politicians who evolved on marriage.

    And, yes, Bill Clinton is still an influential voice in the Democratic party, where the Yes votes on marriage equality will come from in NY. But, hey, if you prefer to turn someone evolving in favor of equality into a problem on par with anti-gay Republicans, that’s your right. (Speaking of getting stepped on . . . ) Seems to me it’s better to evolve in our favor rather than to pull a Mitt Romney and succumb to the Republican status quo, which is worse than anything Bill Clinton ever did.

  38. r says

    i wonder if obama will wait until AFTER he’s president too, to support marriage equality?

    seems like it’s ok to be married even if you’re having sex with an intern (if you’re straight)

  39. just_a_guy says

    I like the way Phil thinks when he says:

    “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?”

    Any challenges to the notion?