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.
What do you get when you combine a discriminatory marriage law, the Supreme Court, and an iconic 70's disco classic?
Find out, AFTER THE JUMP...
The Hollywood Reporter quizzed FOX News host Bill O'Reilly about his remarks during the Supreme Court marriage hearings that the "compelling argument is on the side of homosexuals" and that "Bible thumpers" are losing.
Asked if he stood by those remarks, O'Reilly said that marriage should be left to the states. Asked if he supports DOMA repeal, O'Reilly said Congress should do whatever they want.
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
Anti-Gay Leaders Threaten Leaving GOP: 'We Resent the Insinuation We Have Treated Homosexuals Unkindly'
The leaders of 13 social conservative (and hate) groups including Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Phyllis Schlafly of the Eagle Forum, James Dobson of Family Talk Action and Marjorie Dannenfelser of Susan B. Anthony List have sent a letter to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus (pictured) demanding the RNC reaffirm suppport for DOMA and a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
As I mentioned yesterday, the RNC, which is holding a three-day confab in L.A., plans to vote Friday on a similar measure submitted by state party leaders.
The WaPo reports:
“Republicans would do well to persuade young voters why marriage between a man and a woman is so important rather than abandon thousands of years of wisdom to please them,” they write. “We respectfully warn GOP Leadership that an abandonment of its principles will necessarily result in the abandonment of our constituents to their support.”
The group argues that existing gay GOP groups such as the Log Cabin Republicans and GOProud shows that there is no need to change party orthodoxy to create a bigger tent. “We deeply resent the insinuation that we have treated homosexuals unkindly personally,” they write.
They also suggest that better communication with social conservatives, “the experts on how to articulate those positions,” would have avoided some of the gaffes made by Republican candidates last year.
In both the run up to and in the wake of historic Supreme Court arguments on gay equality (which you can read about here, here, here, here, and here), several political leaders from both parties have come out in favor of the freedom to marry. We've had Jon Huntsman, a Republican; Mark Begich, a Democrat; Rob Portman, a Republican; Hillary Clinton, a Democrat; Mark Kirk, a Republican; Bob Casey, a Democrat; and many others. And, they are just a tiny fraction of a fraction of the 58 % of Americans that now support our quest for marriage recognition.
Senators Begich, Portman, Kirk, and Casey are 4 among the 52 United States Senators -- more than 1/2 of that august body -- on the right side of history. Senator Tim Johnson, Democrat of South Dakota, is the latest, and Sen. Kirk is the latest Republican to buck the continued bigotry of his party's base and leadership, a position for which he deserves credit. But, let's not put the latecomers above the vanguard, like Senator Ron Wyden (pictured), a Democrat, who came out for marriage equality in 1995, before "marriage equality" was the de rigueur phrase and long before every other proud progressive felt comfortable following his lead.
Conservatives and liberals have blasted some our most recent allies as "phony" opportunists, spineless, or worse. Chief Justice Roberts even derisively characterized them as "falling over themselves" to support us. Others say we should welcome the evolution as either the nature of the political beast or the product of a personal journey. That's a discussion worth having, but at the moment, I am more interested in what got us here.
If you have been reading the news over the past two weeks, your head might be spinning from the tidal wave of pro-equality support. I mixed those metaphors for a reason: it's a surprisingly accurate description. One by one, many of our politicians have jumped on the marriage bandwagon. There were some important moments along the way -- President Obama and Rob Portman come to mind -- but the momentum reached a climax in the week leading up the Supreme Court hearings on Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Prop 8 case, and Windsor v. United States, the challenge to DOMA.
Timing was not our only ally; the law was, too. Federal court challenges to two harmful and discriminatory laws gave us the opportunity to replace the lies and fearmongering of the DOMA Congress and the Prop 8 proponents with truth and justice. And, the public learned, taking to heart the well-publicized lessons of court decision after court decision. Generational shifts are playing their role, but the law was the catalyst of the falling dominoes we read about every day. Hollingsworth and Windsor pushed public opinion, laying bare the emptiness of our opponents' arguments and the virulence of their hatred. There was little for politics to do other than to try and keep up.
I consider the catalytic effect of the law AFTER THE JUMP...