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Bill Clinton Praises Jason Collins' Coming Out: 'The Straightforward Statement of a Good Man'

Former President Bill Clinton released this statement today reacting to NBA center Jason Collins coming out of the closet:

ClintonI have known Jason Collins since he was Chelsea's classmate and friend at Stanford. Jason's announcement today is an important moment for professional sports and in the history of the LGBT community. It is also the straightforward statement of a good man who wants no more than what so many of us seek: to be able to be who we are; to do our work; to build families and to contribute to our communities. For so many members of the LGBT community, these simple goals remain elusive. I hope that everyone, particularly Jason's colleagues in the NBA, the media and his many fans extend to him their support and the respect he has earned.

Chelsea released this statement earlier on Facebook:

I am very proud of my friend Jason Collins for having the strength and courage to become the first openly gay athlete in the NBA. His decision marks an important moment for professional sports and for our country. I echo what my father said in his statement and similarly hope that everyone, particularly Jason's colleagues in the NBA, the media and his many fans extend to him their support and the respect he has earned.

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Comments

  1. God, just STOP. You are not some great new LGBT ally, and this reeks of opportunism.

    Chelsea, on the other hand, is awesome, as is Jason of course.

    Posted by: Thomas | Apr 29, 2013 6:10:35 PM


  2. It's certainly good to read these statements today.

    Posted by: Randy | Apr 29, 2013 6:10:42 PM


  3. Bill Clinton is and was an ally. He is the first president publicly declared and worked to bring equality to the GLBT community. As a reaction to his stated goals, the Republicans were organizing to add a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. DOMA was the only compromise he could have made at that time.

    Posted by: truthteller | Apr 29, 2013 6:18:03 PM


  4. Mister DOMA- er, Mister Clinton - needs to buzz off. We don't like you, Bill. You cheated on your wife and you cheated on us, too.

    Posted by: Adam | Apr 29, 2013 6:28:11 PM


  5. @"truth"teller--Give me a break. Maybe you should revisit the 1996 and 1998 elections. I was old enough to vote and campaign in those, and I remember pretty well how DOMA/DADT and "family values" were leveraged politically. He had the political capital to take principled stands about DOMA/DADT. He chose not to use it, and then didn't use it for 12 years as a very popular ex-President.

    Posted by: Thomas | Apr 29, 2013 6:38:26 PM


  6. who, or what, does he have to be *now* for you to finally get over it, Thomas?

    i've met parents through PFLAG who've lost their own children due to their refusal to accept them as gay. for real. and what are they doing today? working to make sure other parents don't make the mistake(s) that they made.

    allow people the opportunity for redemption. find grace.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Apr 29, 2013 6:41:59 PM


  7. Why does every conversation have to be about who hurt whom whenever? President Clinton did a good and thoughtful thing today. Just let it be... As much as I dislike Bush -- had he extended support to Mr. Collins, I would thank him too. Why is support TODAY never enough? I know history counts -- I lived it too, but geeze, not everything has to be about blame. Take the good and enjoy it. Don't let the past destroy the potential of the present. If you've got one foot stuck in the past and the other stuck in the future, you're pissing on today. Stop it.

    Posted by: Alex Parrish | Apr 29, 2013 6:46:23 PM


  8. Since you asked, Kiwi: if he would just acknowledge clearly and unequivocally in any statement that he was wrong, that it was something he regrets, and that it was motivated by politics over principle then I'd move on. I think he sees what he did as excused by "the times" when it really wasn't--the right thing is timeless, and a lot of LGBT allies get that.

    I get the importance of not being stuck in the past, but this is not yet the past: DOMA Section 2 is still law, and Section 3 might continue to be come June, and Clinton is still acting like he's the sad victim of political circumstance. Yeah, I enjoy all the good stories on towleroad--it's awesome. But I don't have to enjoy Clinton's new embrace until he makes a genuine apology. Sorry.

    Posted by: Thomas | Apr 29, 2013 7:00:40 PM


  9. Bill Clinton has never apologized for signing DOMA into law. Nuff said.

    Posted by: Adam | Apr 29, 2013 7:06:08 PM


  10. Getting past blame happens more readily where there is an acknowledgment of the hurt your past actions have caused and you ask for forgiveness from those you've harmed. Bill Clinton chose to skip that part of the narrative but at the very least his actions are now fully supportive. Like Great Britian in WWII you find yourself asking "WTF took you so long?"

    Posted by: JONES | Apr 29, 2013 7:07:59 PM


  11. ok, thank you for that clarity. on that end, i wholly agree.

    because i too was miffed that his speech for the Advocate for Change Award did not explicitly, and specifically, talk about his own regret(s) for his actions and inactions of the past. i think one who "has" changed can be a great advocate FOR change - they lead by example. and i was disappointed that he left out his own personal shame about DOMA.

    i just wanted to make sure this wasn't going to be some "never forgive" thing. which i find useless.

    although, as i once said to a former boyfriend, "I forgive you for everything you'll never apologize for, or admit to".

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Apr 29, 2013 7:15:26 PM


  12. "thomas,"

    I too remember voting in those elections and Bill Clinton IS a politician, that's how he became president. He did his best under the circumstances and the culture of the time. He owes me no apology!

    The man spoke publicly about working for LGBT equality and tried to eliminate DADT-- that's how DOMA came about. If you remember that era so well, you will remember that his predecessor didn't even say the word AIDS in public, as millions of people died. To have a sitting president dignify the LGBT community was a great relief.

    Yes, his speech did move to the right during his second election, but don't get it twisted; his policies didn't, and by then both he and Hillary had been demonized by the right for trying to pass universal healthcare and gay rights. They accused them of murder amongst other things.

    If his speech hadn't moved to the right, he would have lost the election, the economy would have tanked earlier and his progressive policies would never have been.

    It's easy to look back from our present circumstances and judge harshly. The man did his best, and whether you like it or not, he contributed to where LGBT rights are today.

    If you think it's so easy to change the animus embedded in an entire culture against a group of people in 8 years become president and make it happen!

    Posted by: truthteller | Apr 29, 2013 7:39:09 PM


  13. If we insist on making our new-found allies perpetually pay for their prior sins, then we will make very few allies indeed. And let's be serious, folks: we won't get anywhere without straight allies. Simple math.

    Yeah, I think that Clinton is being totally weaselly in not explicitly apologizing for DOMA (that whole "It was either DOMA or an Amendment" line is such a canard, and only recently adopted at that). But the fact is that he is nonetheless saying all the right things now. And for that I am grateful, and I welcome him.

    Posted by: Lars | Apr 29, 2013 8:27:25 PM


  14. How strange that Thomas and Adam post right after each other. They want you to think that they're two different posters when in fact they're written by the same cowardly troll, who is also responsible for Rick, Jason, and Ratbastard.

    Posted by: MateoM | Apr 29, 2013 8:59:44 PM


  15. I've been out since I was born. Isn't that good for anything? Some are rather late to the party, but then I probably couldn't benefit any candidacy.

    Posted by: GB | Apr 29, 2013 10:10:36 PM


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