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President Bill Clinton Accepts GLAAD Award in Los Angeles: VIDEO


President Bill Clinton accepted GLAAD's 'Advocate for Change' Award at the GLAAD Awards in Los Angeles last night and while he did not, as GLAAD had not in its announcement that Clinton would be receiving the award, mention that he was the one who had signed it into law in 1996, one heckler (at 5:35 in the video) reminded the crowd of that fact.

"You signed it!" yelled the attendee.

Clinton, without acknowledging the voice, did promise to keep on the path of advocating for equality:

"I want to keep working on this until not only is DOMA no longer the law of the land, but until all people - no matter where they live - can marry the people they love."

Clinton called for the Supreme Court to overturn DOMA in a Washington Post editorial in March.

He added that there is still work to do:

"You have helped me come to the place where I am today. That's why you are the true agents of change...I believe you will win the DOMA fight, and I think that you will win the constitutional right to marry. If not tomorrow, then the next day or the next day...I supported and tried to pass ENDA without success. We still need to pass that. We still need to fight bullying and we need the right kind of immigration reform that doesn't discriminate against anybody."

And attributed his evolution on gay rights issues to his daughter Chelsea:

"She has had a profound impact in many ways on the way I see the world. It's sort of humbling when you get to be my age when your child knows more than you do about everything....Chelsea and her gay friends and her wonderful husband have modeled to me how we should all treat each other regardless of our sexual orientation or any other artificial difference that divides us. Many of them come and join us every Thanksgiving for a meal. I have grown very attached to them. And over the years, I was forced to confront the fact that people who oppose equal rights for gays in the marriage sphere are basically acting out of concerns for their own identity, not out of respect for anyone else."

Near the end of his speech, Clinton did seem to note that he had some detractors in the audience:

"You are the agents of change. I'm getting this award tonight because I was the object of your affections - or not, as the case may be."

Watch his speech, AFTER THE JUMP...

A full list of GLAAD Award winners HERE.

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  1. Thank you Au I accept.

    Posted by: Jersey | Apr 21, 2013 12:51:50 PM

  2. Kissinger was being honored again! Go with the flow, folks......Or NOT!!!!!!

    Posted by: iban4yesu | Apr 21, 2013 12:55:15 PM

  3. This is the BEST of Bill Clinton

    Posted by: Louis | Apr 21, 2013 1:05:46 PM

  4. GLAAD just hands out awards to any celebrity it seems. It was Anderson Cooper now Bill Clinton. Just because Anderson came out or Clinton wrote an op-ed does NOT mean they deserve ANY award. They should be congratulated for doing what they did, but they have a long way to go before they should be awarded ANYTHING by the gay community.

    Posted by: johnosahon | Apr 21, 2013 1:13:43 PM

  5. Maybe I somehow missed his amicus brief, if it exists, but as far as I can tell, he hasn't even asked the Supreme Court to rule DOMA unconstitutional. He hasn't even signed on to someone else's brief.

    A silly editorial is irrelevant, and of course does not influence the court because it's not AT court.

    Posted by: Randy | Apr 21, 2013 1:19:53 PM


    For keeping ALL the progress we've made on the books including in the Supreme Court, it's ALL THAT MATTERS NOW. Last I checked, there wasn't a more viable candidate that we have on our side, regardless of how she got there.

    The merits of Bill, the political climate of the 90s, all of that means JACK if all our progress can be reversed, which you KNOW isn't unrealistic. You don't have to "move on", you don't have to "forgive", but we need to put priorities in order and get some damn perspective.

    YES we need ENDA, YES we need a lot more progress, and Hilary may end up not moving forward, but we KNOW she won't deliberately attack and reverse track.

    Politics sucks, the context sucks, we should have everything right now as proper citizens, yes, yes, yes.

    But, I mean, WTF FOLKS.


    Over and out.

    Posted by: Leo | Apr 21, 2013 1:23:10 PM

  7. I wasn't opposed to his being given an award specifically about being an Advocate for Change, as "change" is one of those concepts and things that are important. who better to show folks that they too can "change" by being one who has?

    that said, i think this was a brutal missed opportunity for a straight person in a (former, yet still respected) leadership position to specifically talk about their own failings in regard to the path to human equality. their own regret and shame for their own actions, and inactions, in the face of ongoing social injustices.

    yes - there is indeed "historical context" when speaking about 90's-era LGBT issues....however, that doesn't mean that Clinton should have avoided being upfront and honest and clear about not just what he did, and why he did it, but how he looks and feels when thinking back on it TODAY.

    because that's the message that the fence-sitters and anti-equality folks need to hear, and take heed to.

    yeah, hindsight is 20/20, but if the person with the hindsight doesn't take an opportunity that was presented, like getting this award, and get into the specifics of it, then the message is barely made.

    so that's my feeling. this was a missed opportunity.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Apr 21, 2013 1:39:50 PM

  8. Those who support Clinton getting this award are naive idiots who would cheer for a Democrat even if he had you in a hole and was shoveling dirt into it.

    Yes, there are political realities, and I know many of you think that gays would have really been hurt deeply by a Dole 1996 presidency. But frankly it could not have been worse than it was under Clinton. It's not like we were going to be rounded up and shot, since we have this little thing called a constitution. What Clinton did, in fact, was worse than anything done by GWB, including in the 2004 elections. Think about that: worse than GWB. Not only did he use being "pro-family" to help win the Christian South, but he did it on the back of legislation that had no chance of being overturned in the next couple decades except by the Supreme Court.

    Here are some things Clinton could have done to merit getting an award. He could have said that he viewed DOMA as unconstitutional and refused to sign it on that basis. As a lawyer he could have easily spun that. He could have signed it but then not campaigned on having signed it. In 1996 there was no political capital attached to being anti-gay--it was manufactured by politicians. Clinton was an incumbent riding a golden economy and was nearly bullet proof, but he never leveraged that for a truly progressive social agenda. Heck, he could have, in the 12 years since he left office, become involved in advocating visibly for the gay community. But nope, didn't happen.

    Are we really so self-loathing that we seek the approval of any famous person with a (D) next to their name? Even if they're an opportunistic pig whose sole motivation in life seems to be stroking his own ego? It's like the kid who keeps trying to please the parent who tried to send him to conversion therapy, except without the excuse of familial bonds. It's pathetic is what it is.

    Posted by: Thomas | Apr 21, 2013 2:01:54 PM

  9. even a parent who sent their kid to conversion therapy is capable of redemption if they work to undo the harm they inflicted on not only their own kid, but counless others through the promotion of those bogus conversion therapies. by speaking out against them, and verbalizing their regret and shame over it all.

    even a part who directly drove their own child to suicide can redeem themselves by dedicating the rest of their lives to making sure no other parents make that same mistake (Prayers for Bobby, anyone?)

    one of the things often seen at PFLAG meetings are parents, talking to other parents, about the regret they feel for having utter gay slurs and making demeaning anti-gay comments in front of their children, while they had a closeted child at home who took in every hateful word.

    one cannot undo their mistakes. one can, however, make it very clear that they're aware that they WERE mistakes - and that they'll now work hard to undo the harm they inflicted.

    his advocacy on behalf of equality, today, is appreciated. but this award not only seems premature, but his speech simply didn't address the most important facet of this, that more anti-gay folks in the US need to hear and take to heart.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Apr 21, 2013 2:10:39 PM

  10. I'm going to play King Solomon here and split the difference (something he only threatened to do, but never mind): both sides are right.

    It was craven and wrong for Clinton to sign DOMA. He should not have done it. However, in the late 90's, after getting smacked down good and hard on "Don't Ask Don't Tell" (which, at the time, was supposed to be an improvement), he knew was in danger of losing re-election, along with all the work he and Gore had tried to do. (If Ross Perot hadn't jumped back in again, he probably would've lost.)
    Yes, the 90's were " a different time," and things have changed radically in the past 15 years. But he deserved to be challenged and heckled for his choice, and I'm glad someone did it.

    On the other hand: he has evolved. He has become an outspoken gay rights advocate (largely due to Chelsea's influence and her introducing him to her gay friends). He is unafraid--NOW--to use his ex-presidency as a platform for social change, and hasn't just disappeared onto the golf links (a la Reagan and the Bushes) since leaving office. He know people are watching and listening to him, and he speaks with a great deal of authority knowing that his words and actions make a difference.

    My sense is, he knows he owes the gay community--big time--for his past mistakes, and he's trying very hard to step up--if not only for his legacy, for his wife's future political ambitions. As TIME magazine once said, "The passwords to entering the American family are 'forgive' and 'remember.'" Clinton, at this point, deserves our forgiveness; however, he must understand how many of us will always--for good or ill--remember his missteps.

    Posted by: Dback | Apr 21, 2013 2:10:44 PM

  11. It's the GLAAD awards people. Get a grip, its not the Nobel Peace Prize. These things are as relevant as the Miss Universe Pageant

    Posted by: Steve | Apr 21, 2013 2:15:54 PM

  12. In balance I feel Clinton was a good president and does understand and support us.
    That said Bill Clinton did not have to sign the legislation for it to become LAW.
    We forget that the President does have options when presented with a bill that has been passed by Congress: Sign, Veto, (and unless my civics classes have been changed) the Pocket Veto and the Unsigned Law)

    Still when someone gives you their keystone award of the night you are presented with an opportunity to speak and I felt Bill Clinton failed to seize the moment presented to him -on many levels.
    It was almost as if he hadn't known gay people until Chelsea had brought her college friends home!

    So I am dissappointed in him. And he has not done anything to deserve the recognition of GLAADs award. GLAAD not Bill Clinton deserves the criticism for offering the award. It was a craven and misguided act by GLAAD. And Bill did nothing to help them with his 15 minutes in the spotlight.

    Posted by: MCnNYC | Apr 21, 2013 2:31:52 PM

  13. Those of us who were there in '96 may be a bit slower to forgive & forget Clinton's anti-gay legacy, which we are obviously still fighting today. He did not create the federal anti-gay wave of late '90s (our first semi-win in Hawaii did that) but he surfed it willingly for his advantage.

    Since it's a GLAAD celebrity award I guess I won't fume much. Clinton still has much to do and much answer for before being celebrated as an ally.

    Posted by: adamblast | Apr 21, 2013 2:57:42 PM

  14. Don't cross gays. They never forget.

    Posted by: GB | Apr 21, 2013 3:08:56 PM

  15. @Bobby: you must not hear so well. He actually did mention Hillary. By name. I'm not even sure what your point was. Regardless, it was based on faulty information.

    Posted by: Lars | Apr 21, 2013 4:02:40 PM

  16. God, what a bunch of starfuckers. GLAAD has no integrity. My hope is that their fundraising fails and donations to them will dwindle. They serve no purpose.

    Posted by: Sean | Apr 21, 2013 4:23:26 PM

  17. FACT CHECK. We’re sorry to have to rain on this parade of willful ignorance and historical revisionism, truly we are, but not only were neither DOMA nor DADT Clinton's creations, and while I wish he had SYMBOLICALLY vetoed them, his refusing to sign them would have done NOTHING to stop them. BOTH were passed by overwhelming veto-proof margins: DOMA by a vote of EIGHTY-FIVE to 14 in the Senate and a vote of THREE HUNDRED & FORTY-TWO to 67 in the House of Representatives. DADT passed the Senate by NINETY-TWO to 7, and the House, THREE HUNDRED & ONE to 134. More ignorant still is the imagining that those bills CREATED such discrimination rather than simply codifying it. NO gay relationship of ANY kind was recognized by the federal government before DOMA. And some 100,000 gays and lesbians had been kicked out of the military before anyone ever heard of DADT. Clinton's no more perfect than any human, but let's remember some of the good—the CHANGE—he did do before anyone else who’d ever lived in the White House:

    1. Issued “Don’t Ask” Executive Order, and made first effort to end the ban on gays in the military.
    2. Completely revamped the security clearance process that ended the “special procedures” under which gay people were frequently delayed or denied on security clearances, a real problem for people in technology occupations working for government contractors—and issued an Executive Order banning discovering a service member during the process of a security clearance being used to discharge him/her.
    3. Issued an Executive Order adding a sentence enhancement in military trials involving hate crimes against gays.
    4. Appointed James Hormel the first out gay ambassador.
    5. Appointed Bob Farmer the first out gay U.S. consul general.
    6. Appointed the first out gay federal judge, Deborah Batts.
    7. Appointed the first out gay person to a position requiring Senate confirmation: Assistant Secretary of Housing & Urban Development Roberta Achtenberg whom Jesse Helms publicly denounced as “that damn lesbian.” [In June 2009, Obama, Inc, claimed he had made the first such appointment, then had to retract it.]
    8. Nearly tripled AIDS spending while in office: from Bush’s $4.5B in 1992 to $12.2B by 2000.
    9. Helped in the successful repeal of the Dornan amendment which required the expulsion of all HIV-positive military service members regardless of their ability to do their jobs. Prior to its repeal, he declared the law unconstitutional, and instructed his Department of Justice not to defend it in court.
    10. He created the first White House Office of National AIDS Policy, the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS, and convened the first ever White House Conference on HIV and AIDS bringing together more than 300 experts, activists, and citizens from across the country for a discussion of key issues.
    11. He issued a directive that all providers of federal health insurance abide by non-discrimination rules including sexual orientation.
    12. Hired the first out gays in senior White House staff positions. His administration had more than 150 openly gay and lesbian appointees. Many of Mr. Obama’s gay hires such as John Berry and Fred Hochberg have merely been Clinton recycles.
    13. Under Clinton, we got a major advance on asylum policy when Janet Reno adopted as official precedent a decision that gays are a “distinct social group” for purposes of analyzing eligibility for political asylum in the US for people from oppressive countries.
    14. He sent gay human rights activist Keith Boykin to Zimbabwe as part of an official United States delegation to investigate human rights abuses of gays and lesbians there.
    15. His Department of Education issued landmark guidance explaining Federal standards against sexual harassment of all students regardless of their sexual orientation. After a White House Conference on School Violence, he ordered the DOE’s civil rights office to step up its enforcement of anti-discrimination and harassment rules. That resulted in, among other things, a groundbreaking guide for use by school administrators and teachers titled “Protecting Students from Harassment and Hate Crime,” providing practical guidance for developing a comprehensive approach to protecting all students, including gays and lesbians, from harassment and violence.
    16. Thanks to Clinton’s appointments to the US Supreme Court we got our first major victory, “Romer v. Evans,” overturning Colorado’s antigay law; “Lawrence v. Texas” negated all sodomy laws; and the Boy Scouts’ ban on gays was nearly overturned.
    17. Clinton arranged for Pedro Zamora’s relatives to be allowed into the country from Cuba to visit him when he was dying from AIDS, and recorded a PSA in praise of his memory.
    18. He was the first President to meet with gay activists in the White House.
    19. He was the first President to issue a gay pride proclamation.
    20. He was the first President to address a gay organization event, the 1997 HRC dinner [invited and embraced by the same head cheese—within months of DOMA’s passage—now demonizing him].
    21. He was the first President to endorse ENDA.
    22. He was the first President to endorse a federal hate crimes act.
    23. He was the first President to oppose legislation banning gay adoptions.
    24. And, it was his wife that became the first First Lady to demonstrate her support for gay rights for all the world to see by marching in New York’s 2000 Gay Pride Parade. [She did it again as Senator whereas First Lady Michelle Obama has missed four opportunities to do the same.]
    25. He repudiated DADT and DOMA in 2009—after having recorded a message AGAINST Prop H8TE for robocalls to CA voters in 2008 while *Obama was STILL "evolving” [and pretending *he’d never endorsed FULL marriage equality in 1996]. But Clinton's calls were drowned out by YES on H8TE robocalls using a recording of Obama preaching that "God is in the mix" at Rick "gay = pedophilia" Warren's megachurch.

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Apr 21, 2013 4:55:23 PM

  18. Screw Bill and screw the people who voted for that POS legislation with a 5 foot white hot cow punch until it sizzles their tonsils.

    Posted by: Michael Barber | Apr 21, 2013 5:58:29 PM

  19. GLAAD has defamed itself.

    Posted by: Adam | Apr 21, 2013 6:15:23 PM

  20. There are some people with their lips so firmly attached to the butts of the Democratic Party, that they happily would throw gay people under the bus in the name of the Party. That's the problem with a Party mentality. They put power ahead of principles.

    Posted by: James Peron | Apr 21, 2013 6:45:23 PM

  21. Do things that hurt many people but do it because it helps YOU politically knowing that when you are out of office, you can make amends (sort of) and then you will get an award.

    I don't think so!

    That another low for GLAAD. Forgiveness is one thing ... but forgetting the past and continuing to be "star struck" of politicians who have hurt is is despicable.

    A better recipient would have been Chris Kluwe. Now that straight guy went out on a limb to do something help promote marriage equality when it could have been a risk for a career. That is a hero and courageous one at that.

    Clinton ... well let's just say he does things politically for HIM and could care about the damage it does to others. What a FAIL of GLAAD to award him any award.

    Posted by: FunMe | Apr 21, 2013 7:33:10 PM

  22. The irony of awarding a man who signed legislation to 'defend marriage' while receiving blow jobs from a woman who was not his wife. Wonders never cease.....

    Posted by: Adam | Apr 21, 2013 7:41:30 PM

  23. quick question - can anyone suggest a better potential "Advocate for Change" nominee?

    and by ADvocate for Change I mean someone who's had a public/political "change" on our issues?

    that's not a challenge, btw. it's a legit question.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Apr 21, 2013 7:41:59 PM

  24. @James
    'There are some people with their lips so firmly attached to the butts of the Democratic Party, that they happily would throw gay people under the bus in the name of the Party. That's the problem with a Party mentality. They put power ahead of principles.'

    You mean Republican Party. That's the party with the national platform endorsing a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

    Posted by: JONES | Apr 21, 2013 7:44:51 PM

  25. Ironically, the only currently onliine copy of lesbian columnist Deb Price's description of President Clinton's appearance at that 1997 HRC dinner [a year AFTER he signed DOMA] was put up by a religiofascist who loves to hate him, too. See link below. What changed in the interim from the night when "Lesbians in heels climbed onto chairs to snap his photo. Gay men plucked yellow roses out of centerpieces as proof the magical evening had been real," and from when he left office with the consensus by most gays that however many mistakes he'd made, he had tried, and had moved us forward? ANSWER: the 2007-2008 primaries when the Obama campaign starting rewriting history in order to—in the most shameful sexist way they weren't called for—smear Hillary by smearing him. Remember "Billary"?

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Apr 21, 2013 8:07:18 PM

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