Clinton To Rachel Maddow: DOMA & DADT Were “Defensive Actions” Taken By My Husband [VIDEO]

Last night Hillary Clinton told Rachel Maddow that DOMA and DADT were “defensive actions” taken by her husband. Andy Towle has the quote:

“On Defense of Marriage, I think what my husband believed – and there was certainly evidence to support it – is that there was enough political momentum to amend the Constitution of the United States of America, and that there had to be some way to stop that. And there wasn’t any rational argument – because I was in on some of those discussions, on both ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ and on DOMA, where both the president, his advisers and occasionally I would – you know, chime in and talk about, ‘you can’t be serious. You can’t be serious.’ But they were. And so, in a lot of ways, DOMA was a line that was drawn that was to prevent going further. It was a defensive action. The culture rapidly changed so that now what was totally anathema to political forces – they have ceded. They no longer are fighting, except on a local level and a rear-guard action. And with the U.S. Supreme Court decision, it’s settled. ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ is something that – you know, Bill promised during the ‘92 campaign to let gays serve openly in the military. And it’s what he intended to do.”

  • Dan Robinson

    My recollection of DADT was that it was an improvement at the time. The previous policy was something like ‘seek and destroy’ gays in the service.

    • billbear1961

      DADT turned INTO seek and destroy.

      Any suspicion, any hint, any rumour, and they were after you like the Gestapo.

      It wasn’t supposed to be like that, Dan, but that’s what happened.

      It was as vicious as ever if you fell under suspicion.

      • Steven Leahy

        Not really, Bill. I was in the military myself before DADT and it was worse then, so I speak from experience. DADT sucked but was the lesser of two evils.

        • billbear1961

          I can’t argue with your direct experience, Steven.

          But the stories I’ve read and heard were AWFUL.

          • JustSayin’

            Before dadt you could literally be killed and wink wink everyone knew it was because you were gay and so everyone looked the other way about your fatal accident.

          • billbear1961

            Christ!

            🙁

          • Christopher Smith

            billbear, it was a million times worse before. That’s not just Steven’s direct experience in these comments, it’s many intelligent commenters’ direct experience. You need to study up on what the witch hunts were actually like. I had military boyfriends before and after DADT. Horrible as DADT was, it was salvation compared to what preceded it. The NIS (later NCIS) alone was protofascist–a bunch of little Nazis , all closet cases, who lived to wreck lives.

          • billbear1961

            I read many of the horror stories in Conduct Unbecoming until I couldn’t STAND to read any more.

            Conduct unbecoming they called same-sex encounters and relationships, while MANY straight soldiers were fucking any prostitute–often underage girls–they could get their claws on, not taking responsibility for children they fathered abroad, going to “key parties” on weekends where they swapped wives, and all the other highly MORAL undertakings RIFE in the god-fearing STRAIGHT community.

            This is TYPICAL of the SCUM who sit in judgment on US, these FILTHY holier-than-thou HYPOCRITES, like that whore and adulteress, Kim Davis.

          • Christopher Smith

            Yes. Randy Shilts is passable, but there are FAR better gay historians. Martin Duberman, Lillian Faderman, etc, etc, etc.

          • billbear1961

            Conduct Unbecoming shattered me, the sheer, vicious, sadistic EVIL of the persecution–the sadistic GLEE of the FASCISTS who engaged in it.

            THAT combined with photos and accounts of the lynchings of African-Americans (which often involved torture) that people took their KIDS to, afterwards, like they were county FAIRS, until just 50-some years ago, that authorities did NOTHING to stop at the time, has shaken my faith in this country to the BREAKING point.

            There is an EVIL streak throughout this country’s grim history that CANNOT be ignored by any DECENT citizen.

          • Steven Leahy

            Bill, you almost have to laugh at it now, it’s so ridiculous. I remember when being “identified” as a homosexual in the military was highly stigmatizing, likely career ending, and meant being scorned, ridiculed, and disciplined. Now, the DoD holds fucking pride events and in some ways has bent over backwards to accommodate LG service members. We have gay generals and even in the highest civilian military leadership positions.

            I remember that right before national marriage equality was enacted, they even offered special leave for LG service members to travel to states allowing SSM to get married. What happened in the past almost seems like a cruel joke. What REALLY irks me is that there has never been any indication of an apology or regret from these people on what they did to the thousands and thousands of LGB (and soon T) service people who were treated in what is today considered a vile and incomprehensible manner.

          • billbear1961

            I wonder–worry about–what will happen if the GOP gain FULL control of the federal government after next year’s election, Steven.

            I cannot believe the nation will just sit by and watch these gangsters GUT the Constitution and strip MILLIONS of hard-won rights in an effort to take us back DECADES.

            If they try that–God DAMN them!!–they’ll tear this nation apart!!

          • guest

            I see you found another defeatist, sky is falling, doomsday thing to cry about. Well, actually, it is that you are bringing back one of your oldies, but favorites.

            I also see you continue to have to capitalize whole words to make your drama stated for others.

            You must be exhausting to be around in real life.

        • GayOldLady

          I have 2 friends who were career Army, they regarded DADT as an improvement.

        • JustSayin’

          I was there too, and yep it was an improve!ent. Not great but an improvement

        • Gay Fordham Prep Grad

          I just asked Marine hubby this question and on one of the very rare occasions he speaks softly, said, “DADT was a lifesaver for my career as a drill sgt in Pendleton.”

          • Ontogenesis

            Thanks for sharing.

        • Ninja0980

          Indeed, sad to say but DADT was an improvement, as vile as it was.

        • Ontogenesis

          Thanks, good to hear from some people who actually lived this.

        • Toasterlad

          Whereas my experience was the opposite. It depends on where you were stationed. But there’s no denying the discharges went UP after DADT. It’s just not a matter of conjecture: things where OBJECTIVELY worse for gay servicemembers after DADT, in general.

          • Steven Leahy

            I am sorry to hear of your experience but I completely disagree that conditions were necessarily “worse”. Things were NEVER good for LG service members at any point before full repeal of DADT. They declined admission if you acknowledged homosexuality on initial enlistment screenings for decades before DADT. I know I was asked and like most closeted, fearful people at the time, I lied.

            I do agree that where you were stationed made all the difference. The drivers for discharges increasing were probably a combination of witch hunts and people being more prone to acknowledge who they were and maybe act on it/come “out” under the mistaken impression they’d be safe with the new policy.

            Then you have the whole AIDS thing. The 1980’s/early 90’s was a horrible period particularly for gay men with the fear of a deadly disease with no known cure, and I think it brought out a lot of the underlying vitriolic prejudice across society as a whole.

            The military was anything BUT welcoming to gays at ANY time in history and has always had an extremely homophobic culture. I definitely don’t think that culture got worse into the 1990’s than it had been before, but I do think the military had to deal with an increasingly visible gay population and an increasing lesbian/gay awareness as a societal issue. I think before DADT people were so terrified to be who they were they just remained in the closet or hid it. I began serving a little over 10 years before DADT so that’s my frame of reference.

          • Toasterlad

            Not making the case that military life was rosy for gays pre DADT. I remember the paranoia, and the shame of having to lie to enlist. But the fact remains that more people were discharged from the Navy AFTER DADT was implemented than before it. Things were quantitatively worse for gay people after DADT.

      • Larry Ft Pierce

        yes, that happened, and how the hell did it get so misused?

        • billbear1961

          The ugly American tendency towards fascism.

          This country has always scared the HELL out of me.

          There are LOTS of great people, but lots of sick, twisted, evil bullies, too.

          • Steven Leahy

            I think my military experience was when I first saw this country on a personal level for what it was capable of, and my attitudes began to change. We were always indoctrinated throughout school on the evils of communism and the brutalities elsewhere, and in the US being the best and freest place to live. Of course that’s all bullshit but sometimes it takes a cold, hard smack upside the head to make one realize that.

          • billbear1961

            Your eyes are fully open NOW, and THAT’S what matters!

          • Christopher Smith

            Thank you so much for posting your experiences for us to read, Steven. They are of inestimable value, and your dignity in recounting them is remarkable.

          • Steven Leahy

            Thank you Christopher for the nice words 🙂

          • Christopher

            Hey, I’m sick, twisted, and evil, but I’m no bully.

            Bullying is for people who are too stupid in not trying to have a meaningful dialogue.

          • billbear1961

            Oh, Christopher, I’ll bet you aren’t sick, twisted and evil!

            🙂

          • BudClark

            Too bad !

          • billbear1961

            Bud!

            🙂

      • EdmondWherever

        There was undoubtedly some of that, but not always.

        I went into the Army in ’95, at the age of 25. I’d been out for years in my regular life, but felt it was something I wanted to do. I naively thought I could just go back in the closet and keep it hidden while I served. It turned out to be a very difficult thing, and I went through basic training making no friends, and barely speaking to anyone. It was so psychologically disruptive, that I decided I wanted out. I told my drill sergeants that I was gay. I was sent to sessions with a counselor, and I was frequently pressured to change my mind and try to stay in by my commanding officers. One even told me a story about a past posting of his where there were two lesbians that everyone knew about, but had no problem with.

        In retrospect, today I wish badly that I had toughed it out and stayed in, but that’s not what happened. I accepted a “trainee discharge” and went home. I regret my decision, but I have nothing but good things to say about the officers and NCO’s who helped me through it all.

        • Steven Leahy

          I think it depended heavily on your command and location.

          Hey, you did what you needed to at the time and for your sense and psychological well being. I was discharged before DADT when I came out, but I lasted for several years as a service member before I made the decision, and then my command did not want to pursue it but Washington did. Of course I was based on the west coast in the SF bay area.

          I too wondered how things would have been had I stayed in, but hey, at the time we have to do what we have to do. Had the military not had such an oppressive climate & policies, maybe you wouldn’t have been forced into this predicament. THEY’RE to blame, not you.

          • EdmondWherever

            I know, it’s just hard to reconcile that. I wonder frequently how differently my life would have turned out if I’d stayed in. But rather than blame the military, I think the blame really goes to society, and its attitudes toward homosexuality. The military just reflected society (albeit in a much more testosterone-fueled way). I imagine it’s much better now.

            I remember one night toward the end of it (my time there), out drinking with one guy who I was mildly friendly with. A few whiskey sours deep, and I was sick of keeping my secret. It was clear he already had his suspicions, and he encouraged me to talk about it. I finally came out to him, and he was perfectly OK with it, and supported me. It was a good moment I’ll never forget. I’ll always kick myself for not taking better advantage of the opportunity.

          • Steven Leahy

            Agree with that, but look how QUICKLY the military “attitude” changed once the BRASS made a commitment to combat homophobia. They encouraged it and allowed it to flourish, before hand. I actually think the military has since helped drive societal change rather than be lagging behind it. You could see a similar pattern in the way it treated race decades earlier. The leadership has enormous power drive and effect change,

            I agree with you on the good people. I met several who were very accepting and supportive, even in the early/mid 80’s. Of course they were offset by lots of douchebags.

          • Sporkfighter

            “Agree with that, but look how QUICKLY the military “attitude” changed once the BRASS made a commitment to combat homophobia.”

            Same thing happened when Truman ordered anracially integrated military.

          • EdmondWherever

            There’s a lot of truth in that. People see what soldiers are capable of, and rise to the challenge. It’s certainly been interesting to watch all this unfold. I’m definitely glad I was born in the era I was.

        • billbear1961

          I wonder how much it was the “luck of the draw,” if one served in a unit with great officers and peers who were open-minded or at least minded their own business.

          • Steven Leahy

            There was HUGE variability there.

          • billbear1961

            Sounds like YOU were lucky, Steven.

            You’ve always struck me as quite butch, and I wonder if THAT also may have made a difference in how you were treated.

          • Steven Leahy

            LOL you’re sweet, Bill. That may have staved off the initial suspicion. Oh, I still got booted out. My command was not hostile though they did do an “investigation” when I came out and found nothing (of course). The ship’s XO told me he wanted to drop it. I have always been pretty private in my personal affairs. I was in the middle of the Indian Ocean when Wash decided to boot me. They sent me to the Philippines – Subic Bay – and put me in confinement for several weeks under Marine guard. The senior chief who ran the place told me I was disgusting and made him sick to his stomach. Took all my possessions and I was in a barracks behind a barbed wire fence. Eventually sent to Treasure Island where voila got all my privileges back, an in a couple more weeks got my honorable discharge certificate though the DD214 says “claimed homosexuality” on it. I even got a letter a few weeks later from Washington asking me to reenlist (I was in the Nuclear power program).

          • billbear1961

            My GOD, Steven!

            They sound like they were Jekyll-Hydes!

            How could you know where you stood with such people?!

            After all THAT, they asked you to REENLIST?!

            How can they throw you out and THEN ask you to reenlist while DADT was still the law??

            It doesn’t make any SENSE!

            EDIT: Claimed homosexuality?

            What kind of PROOF did they require?

            Did someone actually think you were just trying to “get out of something”??

          • Steven Leahy

            It was a really horrible time in my life, Bill. Going home from that to a family that was far less than empathetic with zero support was not easy. I know many here have dealt with that and far worse. I look back on it in amazement. It’s no WONDER so many American LGBT people grew up with so many issues living in such a fucked up society. It has rapidly changed for the better here in the past 10 years, but there’s still much to do. I cringe when I think of what it must be like for our brothers and sisters in areas that continue to oppress, and even more harshly so.

          • billbear1961

            You’ve been through the fire, Steven.

          • Dan Robinson

            Good grief that’s horrible.

          • That’s exactly how it worked. A relative in my military told me after DADT was repealed (he has been apprehensive about the repeal before it happened) “everyone knew who the gay guys were anyway and no one much cared.” But that’s 20 years later and with a completely different generation of enlisted.

          • EdmondWherever

            I agree, there are good people and bad people, and I got some of the good ones as commanders. Few were so lucky.

          • Toasterlad

            It was ALL “luck of the draw”. Both pre and during DADT, you were safe only if your unit was cool with you. But after DADT, there were a lot less units who were cool with the gays.

    • GayOldLady

      Those of us who are old enough to remember the politics around DADT know that it was intended to do exactly what the name of the policy said it would do “Don’t ask”, which meant that the military was to cease witch hunts for L/G service members and “Don’t tell” which meant that L/G service member could serve as long as their orientation was not made public. It sounds creepy now, but in 1994 it was an improvement over the prevailing conditions that L/G lived and worked under in the U.S. Armed Forces.

      • Because what had just happened before that is the COs allowed gay soldiers to fight in the Gulf War and only when it was over did they kick them out. So these men and women risked their lives and then as a reward they got kicked out on their asses with dishonorable discharges (never a good thing) and no benefits. It was disgusting.

        • GayOldLady

          It was disgusting!!!!!

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        • Christopher Smith

          Beyond disgusting. Excremental.

          • Anal _Eyes_That

            Very foul smelling posterior exiting refuge.

      • d.

        That was the spin, but as implemented, DADT cost over 14,000 service members their jobs over 17 years. It’s pretty hard to argue that was an improvement.

        • Beagle

          As proposed, DADT would have been an improvement — far from ideal, but better. As implemented, where “don’t ask” and “don’t pursue” were ignored, not so much.

        • John B.

          I said at the time–and it proved to be largely true–that “don’t ask, don’t tell” basically meant “found out, thrown out”.

      • GarySFBCN

        True, but her take on DOMA is bullshit. See the attached letter I received from Bill Clinton. He was against same-sex marriage.

        • GayOldLady

          The DOMA issue is one that our community spoke out against, loudly. Hillary’s explanation wasn’t that Bill approved of gay marriage or marriage equality, it was that DOMA was seen as a bulwark against a Constitutional Amendment. I clearly remember the talk about a Constitutional Amendment defining marriage as a union between 1 man and 1 woman. We didn’t have many supporters of gay marriage in 1996, not even among a lot of gay people.

          • GarySFBCN

            And I don’t believe that. He would have supported/approved a Constitutional Amendment, according to the letter he sent me.

          • GayOldLady

            I don’t see any support for a Constitutional Amendment defining marriage as between 1 man and 1 woman in the letter you posted. I do see his opposition to gay marriage and his pledge to sign a “bill consistent with his previously stated positions”. And the President doesn’t approve, nor does he sign a Constitutional Amendment, the States and the Legislative bodies in the Federal & State Governments have that responsibility.
            “The Constitution provides that an amendment may be proposed either by the Congress with a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate or by a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the State legislatures. None of the 27 amendments to the Constitution have been proposed by constitutional convention. The Congress proposes an amendment in the form of a joint resolution. Since the President does not have a constitutional role in the amendment process, the joint resolution does not go to the White House for signature or approval.”

          • GarySFBCN

            “supported/approved” should have been “supported/approved of”.

            Sorry, HRC needs to stop re-writing her husband’s history on this.

          • GayOldLady

            Well, there are those who will believe her, and those who won’t. I do, you don’t. But we agree on most everything else, that’s why we’re commenting here. Peace!!!

          • Kelly Lape

            Obviously you’ll be voting for the GOP again.

            end sarcasm here.

          • GarySFBCN

            Yeah, that’s it. Disagreeing with HRC about Bill Clinton’s stance on DOMA means that I voted GOP – only in your idiot mind.

            end sarcasm here too.

          • Kelly Lape

            HRC was never an effective ally. IMHO they were more concerned with their salaries that with moving our issues forward. In fact HRC was adamantly against challenging DOMA and their opposition to the legal solution was a hindrance to our progress.

            Are you willing to vote for a Clinton over a Republican? Or will you be making a statement vote for Ralph Nader? It doesn’t take a genius to understand how damaging a wasted vote can be.

            https://books.google.com/books?id=EZNCCQAAQBAJ&pg=PT75&lpg=PT75&dq=did+hrc+ever+oppose+doma&source=bl&ots=ah1L3hcW_X&sig=vAZ_WcFcNm0XHLDEhGjNk_qV6_I&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CGQQ6AEwCGoVChMI55P3t5fcyAIVTeNjCh0FzAh3#v=onepage&q=did%20hrc%20ever%20oppose%20doma&f=false

          • GarySFBCN

            Why are you making assumptions about me? I’m not a dogmatic extremist. I’ve never voted for a candidate – I’m always voting against a candidate. Ralph “I don’t get involved in genital politics” Nader was just as homophobic as Clinton and I’ve never voted for him. OTOH, he had some good ideas.

            I voted for Obama. Some call me an Obamabot because I cheer lead the good stuff. Some call despicable things because when Obama does bad stuff I bash him.

            Heroes exist in fiction. I live in the real world. Interesting that in school, 90 is an A and 80 is a B. But in our politically charged world, to some, 90 is an F.

          • Kelly Lape

            The Nader reference wasn’t an indictment of whom you vote for, rather it is a reference to the consequences of voting against someone.

            The 2000 election was lost to Nader. 9/11, the Gulf Wars, Gitmo, all can directly be attributed to Nader’s vainglorious political grandstanding to give SCOTUS the opportunity to appoint Bush Jr. to the office of the President of the United States.

            You voted for Obama. Thank you. Now I ask again will you vote for someone (you are implying) is a “B” Candidate? Will you vote for Hillary if she is the Democratic nominee? Or rather will you vote against the Republican candidate in a way that will make a difference?

          • GarySFBCN

            When did I imply that HR Clinton is a “B” candidate? To me she is a “D” candidate (because of ties to Wall Street, the financial industry, war mongering, etc.) but that is still one level above any of the Republicans.

            It is likely that I will vote for her in the presidential election, but I won’t commit to anything until November 2016.

          • Kelly Lape

            I think she’s the best candidate because:

            (1) The Benghazi committee. The GOP has absolutely made it clear that they are her (and our) enemy. The failure (IMHO) of Obama was his desire to work with the GOP despite the vast evidence of the GOP wanting no such thing. I think the animosity between the Clinton’s and the GOP will be good for us. I don’t think she will accept BS compromise for the sake of a deal.

            (2) The Clinton “Legacy” – I think she hears the valid complaints from progressives regarding the damage done during her husbands administration. She’s come out against the Trans Pacific Trade Agreement, she’s now a solid LGBT ally, and I believe she understands the optics of the presidency as a legacy.

            (3) My best reason – It will piss off conservatives the most.

          • GarySFBCN

            I don’t agree, but again I will probably vote for her. But you’re a fool if you think she is really against the TPTA. Sanders is pulling her to the left and that is good. Watch for a double-cross in this if she gets elected.

            Nader did not lose the election for Gore and actually Gore didn’t lose. But if anyone is to blame, it is Bill Clinton. The blowjob scandal meant that Gore had to distance himself from Clinton and Clinton’s record. Clinton was otherwise considered successful by the talking heads.

          • Kelly Lape

            Well reasoned and expressed. More constructive than “look I’ve got a letter” that says to me what he was saying in public.

            Look at the Benghazi hearings for a good example. The GOP questions regarding why our State Department Personnel were in harms way without the required authorization from the Secretary of State, and how she said one thing in public but another in private… now google “Was Benghazi a CIA outpost” and read for yourself. The political witch hunt against Hillary is all about maneuvering her into a untenable position where she either lets America believe horrible lies, or publicly discloses classified information.

            “Open Government” is nice in theory, but there are things that do qualify as secrets because of national security.

            Yes – props to Bernie. It’s about god damned time that someone pulled America back to the Left.

          • GarySFBCN

            Just so we’re clear, I think you’re a pompous ass, so I probably won’t respond to you in the future.

            Have a good evening.

          • Kelly Lape

            lol

          • Julien Pierre

            Completely agree with you.

            Hillary has changed positions many time recently due to the Sanders campaign.

            I really hope the more genuine candidate prevails, as I have strong doubts that Hillary will truly follow on her sudden progressive positions on the TPP, Keystone XL, and, as of yesterday, private prisons.

            If Bernie were to not make it to the general, then I would also have to reluctantly vote for Hillary, as there is no way in hell I will vote for one of the candidates in the current GOP clown car.

          • Fun list!
            I think a Clinton/Sanders run would bring out the young voters… and shake things up that need shaking

          • Julien Pierre

            If Sanders is not President, he can do more good as a Senator than as VP.

            Sanders/Clinton is a much better ticket, but Hillary would never go for it. I’m not sure if Bernie would ask her, either.

          • maybe he can do more as a senator, but truly bringing him into the limelight and integratig him into the ticket assuring a dem win maybe is more important. as for sanders/clinton, how does that happen, amiright?

          • Julien Pierre

            Maybe Sanders/Clinton happens after Sanders beats Clinton in the primary, like Obama did ?

            Or perhaps he can bring her into his administration, also, not as VP.

          • ultragreen

            You are overlooking something important:

            Most states are not in play during a Presidential election; it is only in the key battleground states that a 3rd party candidate, like Nader, can change the outcome of an election. I live in Illinois, and Hillary Clinton is guaranteed to defeat any of the Republican candidates regardless of how I vote. In my state, whoever wins the popular vote, also receives all of the electoral votes.

            Knowing this, I have voted for 3rd party presidential candidates on several occasions in the past. In each and every case, the Democratic candidate got all of the electoral votes of my state. This is one reason why the scare tactics of Clinton supporters don’t work on some of us. The same logic, of course, applies to people living in states that always support the Republican candidate.

          • unsavedheathen

            On a side note, when I graduated from college in 1985 93-100 was an A, 85-92 was a B, 76-85 was a C.

          • Veylon

            I don’t even know what the point of that is. Would be that hard to say, “We screwed you over, that was horrible of us, and we’re sorry”? Mea culpa maybe not be the most ego-gratifying statement to make, but it puts things to rest a lot better than making excuses.

          • GarySFBCN

            And unconditional – meaning not blaming politics -“we are sorry” is what I would like. That letter was actually hurtful to me as I supported Clinton.

          • Reality Check

            Gary, I agree that it was hurtful. I was hurt like many, many, many others but I did not see the long game back then and now it a lot clearer. It is hard to hear (or read) but it is time to move on. DADT and DOMA are history now so time to put it in the past and not deny the past, learn from it and let go.The opportunities to love and move on with life will be missed if we engage in bitterness. I wish you only well.

          • GarySFBCN

            Thank you for your kind wishes and I have moved on. Again, my only reason for posting the letter was to counter HRC’s revisionist history about Bill Clinton and DOMA. And I agree with her about DADT.

          • Julien Pierre

            Yes, DADT and DOMA are history, fortunately.

            But let’s not rewrite that history.

          • Jim Detwiler

            no no she’s saying this ‘defensive action’ of DOMA and such at the time was to release significant pressure to actually amend the constitution, making it much harder to win in the long run – or get to where we are today. Perhaps because DOMA bought us the time to get it right, which we have. 🙂

          • Julien Pierre

            Jim,
            No such pressure to amend the constitution to forbid same-sex marriage existed in 1996. The history of the federal marriage amendment starts in 2002.

          • JCF

            DOMA passed and was signed very quickly. If DOMA had stalled, or been vetoed, I believe efforts to amend the Constitution would very likely have been passed out of Congress (I can’t say whether it would have been ratified by the States, but it seems highly likely). I’m not defending either Clinton, but just being realistic. Of ALL people who could have STOPPED the Marriage-Amendment train in the 1990s, I don’t think it COULD have been the President who (pre-MonicaL) was already called “Slick Willie” (w/ the Gennifer Flowers/Paula Jones baggage).

          • Julien Pierre

            DOMA was passed with a veto-proof majority in both houses of Congress in 1996. Even if President Clinton used his veto, it’s very likely that DOMA would just have passed anyway in a second vote in both houses of Congress in 1996.

            I do not see how we could have gotten from there to a federal constitutional marriage amendment at the time, especially given that one was not proposed.

            The process to amend the US Constitution is not a simple one. It’s impossible to say if there would have been enough states to ratify it. The President would have had no part to play in this.

            I have not been able to find any record from this time period that the federal marriage amendment was a threat. All we have is Bill and Hillary’s word that it was.
            But we have others who say this was not the case, for example Elizabeth Birch, who was President of HRC.

            See
            http://americablog.com/2013/03/president-clinton-wrong-history-doma.html

            I think if the federal marriage amendment was actually on the table in 1996, it would have been at least discussed in LGBT media at the time. You can certainly find plenty of references to it post-2002. Just not before that.

          • Julien Pierre

            She doesn’t even have to take the blame for her husband’s vote. She is her own person.

          • Julien Pierre

            Absolutely. And she really does not need to do that to earn votes. She had a good week with Biden dropping out, and coming out of the Benghazi hearings unscathed, if not strengthened.

            Then she goes out and tells this lie !

            I’m definitely voting for Bernie in the primary, and I hope he wins and goes all the way.

          • David Kerlick

            And then 75% of state legislatures (currently 38) have to ratify. The Equal Rights amendment failed by a few. Amendments to abolish the Electoral College are doomed to fail because the small states have greater power under the E.C.

          • Julien Pierre

            What I saw in this letter was clear support for DOMA.

            I agree that nothing was said in the letter about any federal constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage. That’s because no one had even conceived of it, at the time.

          • JT

            I’m not sure about that, even if he had a role to play in that process. But I can certainly understand why you take that from his letter.

            If the DADT resolution to his original promise to end discrimination in the military is anything to go by, it looks as if the attempt was to fend off the passage of something even worse, given the work and vitriol of scumbags in Congress (including Sam Nunn and Jesse Helms). DOMA, as bad as it was, did not prevent states from allowing same sex marriage.

          • mikekil

            I think it’s similar to Obama’s promise to close Guantanamo prison. It can’t be done without Congress. Campaigns promises are about your intentions and we all know the best laid plans…

          • Reality Check

            Hey Gary — Usually I agree with you but this time I disagree with you. Politics is a game and you have to learn to play it. There is NO purity in politics. Hillary is right. There was such a strong movement to ban gay marriage in 1996 that it would have passed in 3/4 of the states and added to the Constitution. This would be a disaster and it would have conflicted with the 14th Amendment which the Supreme Court relied upon to overturn all bans against SSM. Bill Clinton is a politically calculating strategist and good at it. Lincoln was a masterful strategist to have fought for the 14th Amendment for posterity.

          • Christopher Smith

            Yes. Homophobia was even uglier and more prevalent then than now, hard though it is to believe.

          • Reality Check

            Hey Chris — I would go one step further. Let’s imagine that the Constitutional amendment had passed sometime in the period between 1996 and 2004, the Supreme Court would have upheld the bans against SSM and we would be talking about a movement to reverse the Constitutional amendment. Do you know how hard it is to reverse an amendment to the US Constitution!?!!!!???? The disgusting ugly hurtful and painful DOMA prevented this even worse possibility.

          • Christopher Smith

            I think you’re right. People have zero clue how *instituionally* virulent and vicious the homophobia of the past was. It was rarely publicly questioned, much less criticized, by anyone.
            It could even have influenced the Lawrence decision about sodomy. UGH.

          • Bill_Perdue

            Wrong. Bill Clinton’s DOMA encouraged the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2002.

          • Reality Check

            Bill Perdue – simple question. Did the amendment become part of the Constitution?

          • Bill_Perdue

            Look it up.

          • Reality Check

            It is a simple yes or no. Did the amendment become part of the US Constitution?

          • Bill_Perdue

            Your question has nothing to do with my comment. But if you’re still confused, look it up.

          • Reality Check

            Bill, the answer is obviously no. The strategy worked in part along with electing Barack Obama and Joe Biden and today we have marriage equality across the land. Learn forgiveness Bill and perhaps you will get a little bit of peace while you are still living. I am getting ready to prep and cook for my fiance who is coming in a few hours and I am thankful that Puerto Vallarta got spared since we have a big trip there at the end of the year. We are getting married in 2 years. I celebrate where were are NOW as far as marriage equality is concerned. Goodbye and have a nice day.

          • Bill_Perdue

            Psychobabble.

          • Ray Taylor

            There is no argument possible with BP

          • Kelly Lape

            Really? How’d that work out?

          • JT

            Nonsense. Revisionist history.

          • Bill_Perdue

            Stop lying. The Clinton’s are right wing bigots. That’s why why you admire them.

            “Months earlier, May 23, 1996, Clinton made his first comments on DOMA, jumbling the specific effect of the bill but echoing comments from his press secretary that he would sign it. On July 11, 1996, the administration issued a Statement of Administration Policy: ”The President … has long opposed same sex marriage. Therefore, if H.R. 3396 were presented to the President as ordered reported from the House Judiciary Committee, the President would sign the legislation.”
            http://www.metroweekly.com/2011/09/becoming-law/

            “Hillary Clinton evolved on same-sex marriage within the first 72 hours of her presidential run, as her campaign said Wednesday that the former secretary of state now backs marriage equality as a US constitutional right.

            The about-face, dropped as Clinton was preparing the second of two progressive-leaning appearances in Iowa, represents a significant – if not completely unexpected – shift from her previous statements that same-sex marriage should be legislated state-by-state rather than on the federal level.” http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/apr/15/hillary-clinton-gay-marriage-presidential-campaign?CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2

          • JT

            As usual, your powers of misrepresentation are showing.

          • Julien Pierre

            We don’t need to imagine anything in this case. The federal marriage amendment had no chance of passing between 1996 and 2002, because it had not been proposed.

            The bar to pass a federal constitutional amendment is very high. It did not pass in 2002. Had it been proposed earlier, we have no idea if it might have passed or not. But this would have been much more difficult than a simple vote in Congress.

          • Bill_Perdue

            Politics that injures the lives of LGBT people is a predatory game. The Clinton and their Republican brothers and sisters are homiophobic, pandering predators.

          • Kelly Lape
          • Bill_Perdue

            Not a polticial comment.

          • Kelly Lape

            Just look at the 2004 election. Rove (et.al.) got gay marriage on the ballots of just a few swing states, and the assholes came out in droves. Hell even Oregon passed measure 36 (for which I hope the evil fucks rot in hell).

          • Bill_Perdue

            Clintons DOMA made passage of state DOMAs more likely.

          • Kelly Lape

            Of course it did. It also made the passage of a Constitutional Amendment less likely.

            State DOMA laws could (and what do you know were) overturned.

            I guess you’re just to focused on now to know how to play a long game. Politics are all about the long game.

            Go back to Drudge Bill. Your trolling doesn’t work here.

          • Bill_Perdue

            Republicans are Democrats in drag.

            There was no constitutional amendment being discussed until 6 years later. Do stop lying and do tell the DNC you’re overpaid.

          • Kelly Lape

            There were roughly 256 million Americans in 1996. Please prove your negative:

            “there was no constitutional amendment being discussed until 6 years later…”

            Go on prove that asinine assertion.

          • Bill_Perdue

            Prove that it was, DNCman.

          • danolgb

            And you could argue that the conservatives overplaying their hand on state DOMAs and amendments ensured us marriage equality today. That wouldn’t have happened if a federal amendment had been allowed to pass.

          • Bill_Perdue

            State DOMA’s passed because of Bill Clinton’s DOMA.

            Clinton hurriedly signed DOMA and his campaign committee placed this ad with southern and mid-western redneck radio stations “Protecting religious freedom. It’s the foundation of our nation. When the Justice Department went after a church to gather the parishioners’ tithing money, the government was stopped cold because President Clinton overturned the government’s policy and protected us. It’s not the only time he’s defended our values…President Clinton wants a complete ban on late term abortions except when the mother’s life is in danger or faces severe health risks, such as the inability to have another child. The President signed the Defense of Marriage Act, supports curfews and school uniforms to teach our children discipline. President Clinton has fought for our values and America is better for it. Paid for by Clinton/Gore 96″

            Commenting on Clinton’s ad CBS News chief political consultant Marc Ambinder said:

            “One reason the Rick Warren thing is a big deal is because, after Bill Clinton, the gay community is unusually sensitive to getting the shorter angle of presidential triangulation. It is hard to overstate the optimism and excitement that gays and lesbians felt in 1992. But the optimism deflated spectacularly after “Don’t Ask, Don’t tell” and the Defense of Marriage Act, not to mention President Clinton’s sneaky 1996 ad boasting about DOMA, which aired only on Christian radio. Clinton was willing to say the word “gay” in public and appear in black tie at the Human Rights Campaign dinner, but, in the eyes of the gay political community, his commitment to gay rights vanished both times it counted most.” (2) (2) http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-4675355-503544.html

          • Oregon Measure 36 killed someone I know.

            Grrrr

          • GarySFBCN

            Did you read Bill Clinton’s letter to me in the first post?

          • Toasterlad

            There is no credible evidence that a Constitutional amendment would have passed in 1996. It was barely being discussed at the time. Anyone who knows anything about how the Constitution gets changed knows the idea was a farce.

            A Constitutional amendment as a movement didn’t gain any traction at all til Karl Rove used it as a way to get people to the polls in 1999. And once Bush was elected, most people stopped paying it anything more than lip service. Why? Because it was, is, and will remain, a fantasy. But that didn’t stop Clinton from seizing on it and using it to retroactively absolve himself for DOMA! Good job, Bill!

          • Julien Pierre

            Good job, except he and Hillary got caught in this lie.

          • Julien Pierre

            The federal marriage amendment simply had not been proposed in 1996. That didn’t happen until 2002, 6 years later.

            Historical accuracy is important. We should not allow Hillary to rewrite history.

          • Kelly Lape

            Seeing how you are very ready to publicize his letter, he did the right thing by not writing down what he really thought.

            Don’t think for a minute that a statement of support by the President wouldn’t have been seized upon by the GOP – at that time he was being hounded about anything the right could get it’s teeth into. For gods sake they (the GOP) cried “Wag the Dog” when he tried to kill Osama Bin Laden – think what would have happened without DOMA.

          • Bill_Perdue

            On bigot panderers care what happen to bigoted politicians.

          • Kelly Lape

            Sentence sense, make some, you don’t.

            WTF are you trying to say?

          • mikekil

            Presidents are not single issue supermen able to leap a tall Congress in a single bound. Bitterness that Santa didn’t bring you your barbie bream bill is pointless.

          • Bill_Perdue

            Cliontopn championed DOMA and boasted about it. Supporting his bigotry is wrong.

          • Toasterlad

            Ah, yes…the “I want a pony!” line. Heard that many times from people trying to explain to me why it was important to stop pestering Democrats to live up to their promises.

          • GarySFBCN

            I linked to this letter in response to HRC’s revisionist history on DOMA. I do agree with her on DADT. But what’s the problem with me posting the letter?

          • Kelly Lape

            Imagine if that letter had said he would rather not support DOMA, but would rather work for Gay Rights.

            What then?

            Would you have sat on that letter? Used that letter to defend him? Used that letter to attack him as a hypocrite?

            Politics is understanding what can and what cannot be accomplished. If that letter was addressed to you, then you were there. What was your “take-away” of the politics at the time? Do you have any memory at all of beltway chatter regarding the necessity of a Constitutional Amendment to “Protect” Marriage?

            Assuming President Clinton had written you a different letter, no matter your intentions, publicizing those intentions (IMHO) would have certainly been used by not just Clinton’s political enemies, but enemies of LGBT citizens throughout this country.

            We LGBT citizens have been used as a “boogie man” by the Religious Right for decades. This fear mongering was and is still being embraced by the GOP for political gain.

            Once again I ask: Do you believe that during the creation of DOMA, if that law had been vetoed, was a national drive for a Constitutional Amendment banning same sex marriage a legitimate possibility?

          • GarySFBCN

            In that letter he clearly stated that he is against “same-gender” marriage. That has NOTHING to do with what is politically possible or not possible.

            He also stated that he would sign any bill that was consistent with his position against same-sex marriage.

            I’m not using the letter to attack him. I’m using the letter to call-out HRC on her revisionist history.

            If the truth bothers you so much, you can just block my posts and never see them again.

          • Kelly Lape

            And who are you? Who are you to think any President of the United States would share anything other than official policy with you ? Especially in writing?

            You are calling Hillary a revisionist because she’s sharing her memories. Who is more likely to know what Bill was thinking? His wife? Or the recipient of a basic policy form letter?

          • Toasterlad

            This is beyond sad.

            Don’t you people know when to just leave it alone? Why must you continue to try to defend the indefensible?

            Does Hillary Clinton’s record have NOTHING of substance that you can run with, or is trying to pretend that a 20-year old blatantly anti-gay letter by her husband was, in actuality, a gay rights manifesto your entire plan to get Hillary elected?

            I hope they’re not paying you too much, because you are NOT earning your keep.

          • gary, kelly has some points but dont feel bad. the letter is interesting and im glad i had the chance to read it. thank you!

          • Julien Pierre

            Kelly, the letter was important, and it supports the historical record, which is that Bill Clinton did not oppose DOMA in 1996, and, in fact, favored it.

            The revisionist history argument that Hillary is trying to make has previously debunked by Elizabeth Birch and Evan Wolfson. There was no federal marriage amendment on the table in 1996.

            Hillary is not sharing her memories here, she is simply lying.

          • Kelly Lape

            I mean, you don’t really believe he sat down and composed that letter do you? That he sat with his pen in his mouth trying to figure out what to say to you? Then called Monica in to type it up for him… Okay type this in a few minutes, I’ve got something else for you to do…. Oh Monica… Oh Monica… Oh Damn…

          • Yeppers- DOMA did away with Baker [the excuse that marriage wasnt a federal issue] and led to Marriage Equality

          • Julien Pierre

            But the letter didn’t say that. We don’t have to assume anything.

            We have the historical record. Which, very unfortunately, Hillary is trying to rewrite.

          • Toasterlad

            The problem is that hurts the new meme that Bill Clinton was the savior of the gay community, and that drives the Clintonistas crazy.

          • Julien Pierre

            Yes, reality is a bitch !

          • Julien Pierre

            I don’t think we can say that for sure. Many voted for DOMA in 1996 but later opposed the federal marriage in 2002 and later. For example, Joe Biden. Of course, some time had passed in between.

            We will never know, however, because no federal marriage amendment was proposed in 1996, and thus there was no position for Bill Clinton to take at the time.

          • JT

            That’s just what happened in numerous state constitutions. There’s a revealing (and horrific) graphic showing this from Wikipedia.

            Black=Amendment bans gay marriage, civil unions, and any marriage-like contract between unmarried persons

            Maroon=Amendment bans same-sex marriage and civil unions

            Red=Amendment bans same-sex marriage

            Gray=No state constitutional amendment banning legal recognition of same-sex unions ever adopted

            https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/55/Marriage_amendment_animation.gif

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Former_U.S._state_constitutional_amendments_banning_same-sex_unions

          • fuow

            Bingo. The shit I took for being married and monogamous was through the fucking roof.
            Every A-List-Fag who attacked those of us who lived a different lifestyle than that of the millimeter trimmed mustache, waxed chest clone was severely attacked.
            Fuck them.

          • Christopher Smith

            yes there was a LOT of that….and in fact, gays eating their own is one of the reasons to this day we ain’t made more progress. With vicious infighting like this, who needs the Rethugs or the Xtofascists for enemies?

          • Todd20036

            You and I have different definitions of “eating your own….”

          • Christopher Smith

            Snicker. What a one track mind, Todd……..

          • Joe in PA

            naughty boy…you must be spanked.

          • We seem to be our own worst enemies… truly sad, especially when the right wing marches in lockstep…

          • Christopher Smith

            It’s horrendous.

          • Ninja0980

            Being married to a bisexual, I’ve gotten a lot of that as well.
            I can certainly see why many think the LGBT movement truly isn’t, the ignorance I’ve encountered from gays and lesbians over my marriage rivals that of the Religious Reich.

          • markjcorsi

            “Every A-List-Fag”… “millimeter trimmed mustache, waxed chest clone”… I love it! In 1992, I was also in a committed relationship, but my partner was an “A-List-Fag” who struggled with monogamy. Even our couples’ counsellor commented to me, “You are awfully conservative for a gay man” (!). How’s that for a sign of the times?

          • Bill_Perdue

            Prove it with any source other than partisan memory showing that a constitutional DOMA was being proposed.

            The Federal Marriage Amendment was not on the table at the time. “In 1996, I was President of the Human Rights Campaign, and there was no real threat of a Federal Marriage Amendment.” Elizabeth Birch, former head of HRC http://americablog.com/2013/03/president-clinton-wrong-history-doma.html

          • GayOldLady

            Never said it was being “proposed” I said it was being talked about.

          • Bill_Perdue

            Being talked about is being proposed. Stop quibbling. The head of HRC, and they’re not exactly gay activists, says you’re wrong.

          • GayOldLady

            Bill, “talked about” and “proposed” especially in the political sense, are not the same thing and you know it. You need to “STOP QUIBBLING” and whining and crying and complaining. You’re such a tiring, boring person with one-way arguments to nowhere.

          • Bill_Perdue

            Stop quibbling or prove that it was being talked about or proposed at the time. Just one little citation. There aren’t any so your lie is exposed.

            I proved that it was not. Stop whimpering when you get caught telling a lie.

          • GayOldLady

            What you “proved” is what one person believed. Nothing more, nothing less.

          • Bill_Perdue

            I proved that you were a liar, again.

          • Kelly Lape

            No Bill, you didn’t. You’ve just proven yourself to be a partisan hack. So you don’t like the Clinton’s big whup neither does anyone else in the GOP. Go over to Drudge where your “wisdom” will play better.

          • Bill_Perdue

            Democrats like you are Republicans in drag. You betray the LGBT communities by supporting bigots like the Clintons.

          • Kelly Lape

            To reject “good” in pursuit of perfect, is the act of a child.

          • Bill_Perdue

            Democrats gave us DADT and DOMA. You think that was good. You lose.

          • Kelly Lape

            Really? Did you serve? Were you in the Military pre DADT? How about after? My 20 year career was spent divided between the two policies.

            The jokes “Are you a practicing homosexual?” – “No” – I don’t need practice I’m pretty good at it.

            The witch hunts, the paranoia. I also remember very clearly the summer of 1992 during the election. I remember Bill Clinton on MTV with a live audience being asked about Gays in the Military – I remember a very casual off hand response that he thought the ban was wrong and would work to repeal it.

            I remember the GOP using this not just during the campaign as a negative saying he “promised” to let gays serve (as if that was horrible), but then after the election. The politics of making the very first issue President Clinton dealt with a “losing” issue – The GOP built the expectation that the first thing Clinton would do was going to be letting gays serve openly and destroy the military. This was before any treatments were available for AIDS and the fear mongering of Gays on the Battlefield giving blood and in the showers lusting after our finest American boys was disgusting.

            Our allies like Democratic Senator Sam Nunn on the Armed Forces Committee went around the military asking about Gays, like we who are gay could come out and defend ourselves. It was awful.

            DADT was a vast improvement and you have no credibility talking about it so provide your credibility on the issue or shut the fuck up Mr. Purdue.

            Was DADT Perfect? Hell no. Was it the best we could get in 1993? Abso-fucking-lutely you prejudiced asshole.

          • Bill_Perdue

            I’m a veteran of the antiwar movement. Unlike you I oppose US wars of aggression and Bill and Hillary Clinton’s bigotry.

          • Kelly Lape

            “(you’re) a veteran of the antiwar movement.” Very well stated. It is a personally possessive statement, where you own your feeling and clearly identify your belief.

            “Unlike (me) (you) oppose US Wars of aggression…” This is what is called projecting. You are assigning your beliefs to me and then concluding with a statement that is also a projection “… Bill and Hilary Clinton’s Bigotry”

            Your demonstrated use of false narratives belies your hidden agenda. Attack the people you disagree with on a personal level rather than promote your ideas (or in your case lack of ideas).

            So tell me Mr. Purdue, how do you oppose the US wars of “aggression?” Are you a patriot? A traitor? Do you sit and type all day in your opposition to these acts of violence committed by your country in your name? Do you honestly believe the alternatives to either Clinton (insert random Bush here) – are the answer to stopping the US Wars of “Aggression?”

            Just to be perfectly clear Mr. Purdue, I’m mocking you.

          • Bill_Perdue

            A pro-war, pro-bigot rightist only mocks itself.

          • Kelly Lape

            As a side note your use of the word “veteran” in your anti military tirade is offensive. Many good men have been killed and many more have been wounded earning the name “Veteran.” Your misappropriation of the term for political brownie points is pathetic.

          • Bill_Perdue

            Your rancid support for US wars of aggression and the Clinton’s bigotry are noted, DNC boi.

          • Kelly Lape

            Feel good about your Brownie Points? You don’t have the courage of your convictions. Get off your ass, get away from the keyboard and do something constructive.

          • Bill_Perdue

            Pro war, pro bigot. You are the perfect Clintonite and a total waste of oxygen.

          • Toasterlad

            This veteran is fine with it, because this veteran understands that the word “veteran” is not the exclusive province of the military (look it up). This veteran is also thoroughly sick of people who did NOT serve using their “support for the troops” as a dick-measuring tool to show how big their rod of righteousness is.

          • Toasterlad

            I served pre-DADT, and was NOT discharged. I served with gay men who served more or less openly pre-DADT who were discharged AFTER DADT.

            So, I can confidently say that, no, DADT was NOT, in fact, a vast improvement. It was, in fact, a vast clusterfuck of witch hunts and harassment and open, naked bigotry. Thanks, Bill Clinton!

          • Julien Pierre

            There is never a good time to rewrite history.

          • Kelly Lape

            History is constantly being written and rewritten.

            The best sources are first person accounts written as near to the event as possible. Actions, reactions, consequences and unforeseen consequences all combine to allow later scholars to see events with new understanding.

            I was 10 years into a 20 year military career in ’93 when DADT was created. It wasn’t the best policy, but I was vested in following the Congressional and Senate proceedings, so I accepted DADT as the best compromise President Clinton could achieve in light of stiff opposition.

            The GOP’s use of LGBT issues didn’t die with their loss over DADT, and when Hawaii’s Judiciary ruled in our favor regarding marriage rights, the “Full Faith & Credit” clause of the Constitution was cited as a means to “impose” same sex marriage on the entire country. This was a very real political football for with potentially dire consequences for us (the LGBT “football”).

          • Julien Pierre

            The problem in this case is that we have conflicting first person accounts of events.

            Bill & Hillary Clinton are telling one story about DOMA, and the marriage equality activists are telling a very different one.

            For example, Elizabeth Birch, the President of HRC in 1996, had this to say on the topic two years ago when Bill Clinton first told this lie :
            http://americablog.com/2013/03/president-clinton-wrong-history-doma.html .
            Others, such as Evan Wolfson of freedom to marry, have said the same thing as Elizabeth Birch did.

            Since you have those conflicting accounts, we have to find other sources to try to determine which story is correct.

            I have looked all over the Internet, and just can’t find support for the story Bill & Hillary are telling – that there was a threat of a federal constitutional marriage in 1996, and that DOMA was passed to protect us from that threat.

            I believe if this was an actual threat in 1996, there would be trace of discussions of it in the media, such as print, television archives, Internet, etc. My conclusion is that Bill & Hillary are telling a lie about DOMA.

          • Kelly Lape

            And you’re welcome to believe whatever you wish to believe.

            I believe the evidence of the animosity of our enemies is overwhelming. The passage by wide margins in numerous states post DOMA of anti-gay legislation reinforces my position that DOMA staved off worse legislation. The legislation was veto-proof.

          • Julien Pierre

            I will grant you, that, but do realize that it does not in any way refute what I wrote, or support Hillary’s DOMA history rewrite.

            FYI, a few more quotes for you
            From David Mixner :
            http://www.davidmixner.com/2013/03/bill-clinton-doma-and-history.html

            “Clinton
            today says he signed it to prevent a Constitutional Amendment from
            passing. The problem with that argument is that such an amendment wasn’t
            really even being considered in a serious way. Not until Karl Rove got a
            hold of the idea after 2000 did the amendment concept have any legs at
            all. It just wasn’t a serious political factor at all in 1996. ”

            From Evan Wolfson :
            http://blog.sfgate.com/politics/2013/03/19/clinton-on-doma-rewriting-history/

            “In
            1996, “there was no serious prospect that Congress was going to enact a
            discriminatory constitutional amendment for the first time ever,” said
            Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry. “That threat
            was not even significantly talked about.””

          • Ontogenesis

            No, you proved that you are an asshole, again.

          • Bill_Perdue

            Not a political comment even for a paid rep for the Clinton Foundation.

          • Bill_Perdue

            It’s what everyone but a few die hard Clintonistas accept.

          • GayOldLady

            And besides Bill you quoting the HRC is laughable!!!! Don’t you believe it to be a “right wing” organization?

          • Bill_Perdue

            Not as right wing as you.

          • Ontogenesis

            Just ignore it. I have hopes that it may go away if it’s starved of attention.

          • Bill_Perdue

            Not a political comment, even for a DNC rep.

          • ontonogenesis is right. Look at how many of BP’s comments are outright ignored. He’s a much-despised troll

          • Kelly Lape

            You can’t argue with stupid. Mr. Purdue is convinced of his righteous hatred of the Clintons, so be it.

          • Bill_Perdue

            Not a political comment.

          • Julien Pierre

            So, it was being “talked about” in private, but was never discussed in public in print media, television, or the Internet, before DOMA was passed in 1996 ?

            If so, that doesn’t sound like such a serious threat that we needed President Clinton to protect us from.

          • Julien Pierre

            The talk about the federal marriage amendment started much later, in 2002, not in 1996.

            Hillary’s explanation was a complete rewriting of history.

          • GayOldLady

            Well I disagree. I was very active politically and in the gay community and it was definitely being discussed at the time. Just as the anti-choice folks have been discussing a Human Life and a Personhood Amendment to the constitution ever since Roe V. Wade.

          • Julien Pierre

            That’s interesting. I don’t personally recall that, but I wasn’t politically active then (and still am not). I turned 20 in 1996 and voted for Clinton – in Florida, no less.

            Why is it that we can’t find any written record before 2002 about the federal marriage amendment ?

          • GayOldLady

            You can’t find a record of an Amendment because it was only being discussed as a tactic. In 1996 I was over 50.
            I also remember George W. Bush campaigning in 1999 stating he would consider a Federal Marriage Amendment. He tried to push that Amendment in 2004, along with the privatization of Medicare and SS.

          • Julien Pierre

            Yes, I recall the federal marriage amendment being pushed by Bush at later times, such as the 2004 campaign. I don’t recall him saying it in 1999.

            However, the question was whether this was being discussed in 1996, prior to the passage of DOMA.

            I have searched for evidence that it was, and came up empty. The President of HRC, Elizabeth Birch, said it was not on the table at that time.

            http://americablog.com/2013/03/president-clinton-wrong-history-doma.html

        • Gerry Fisher

          This is what I was talking about in my posted comment. Obama has a way of saying, “I feel your pain, here. I share your disappointment. This is the best that the current political reality will offer, unfortunately. I commit to working hard in the future to keep advancing your cause.” This letter and Hillary’s early statements about marriage equality were “This is wrong…I oppose it,” followed by an attempt to shift the discussion.

          We can’t get everything we want when we want it. But being told bluntly by an ally “we’re wrong about wanting it” is not acceptable, especially when we KNOW that it’s all about pandering to the average voter who still harbors some bigotry.

        • guest

          True. And I am not defending Clinton here, because sometimes you have to stand on principle, even in politics. I wish the politicians would always stand on the side of morality and principles, but in reality, I can only hope for them standing there sometimes.

          That written, I also want to make it clear that then General Powell, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff lied to then President Clinton. Powell point blank said the policy meant that gay people could be at a pride event on the weekend and at work Monday morning and no questions would be asked. That later statement was used by others in the military to Clinton, where the words “gay bar” were substituted for “pride event.” So, Clinton heard lies from a few people there.

          I can at least see why a new President, with no military service, and that “Democratic military chip” on their shoulder for being in college deferment during Vietnam, would not know to question the comment. I can at least see why Clinton would think this was an improvement.

          (This chip is because the right successfully beats the left with it, while the right has more draft dodgers, etc. Them thar are the facts of a government report from the 1990’s.)

          We also saw this process with President Obama, but that only lasted a week or so. Obama may or may not have been coached, in that he pushed the military back with questions right away. And that technique and the later forced decision that he had to fire the General, and later the technique that saved lives in the OBL raid, where it was Obama demanded a 2nd helicopter so if they had to fight Pakistan then they had a good chance.

          Maybe Powell was lied to as well, but Powell was in the military and should have known better to make sure the order was clear.

          I fault Clinton less for a position then, with wrongly where society was then, and I fault Clinton less for changing his mind (if any politician really does change their mind and they are not just 100% poll driven anyway), but I fault Clinton for not being more vocal against haters when the politician has changed their mind. I fault Clinton for not being vocal when he was out of office.

          I also fault both Clinton’s for not speaking out against their home state a few months ago with their hate law. (Covered here then)

          • GarySFBCN

            OK, but you all are reading more into this than my original post: HRC’s explanation of DOMA is wrong, and totally ignores the fact that her husband said that he was against same-sex marriage and said so for many years. He willingly signed DOMA – that was consistent with said he would do in that letter, and it was no surprise at all to me.

            Spinning DOMA as a ‘measure to prevent something worse’ – as if he supported same-sex marriage – is total bullshit.

            They should just say ‘he evolved’ long ago, like Obama and move on.

          • guest

            I am not reading into your post anything that is wrong. There is some truth, not 100%, but some in that there probably were discussions on preventing a full scale constitutional Amendment, and I will not fault either Clinton for the way society was then and while using where we are now. Society has changed.

            With Hillary, I have far more worries, on if things changed, if the polls shifted against us (I doubt it will, but if) will she do what she always does, and be cautious and wait to see how things turn out. That is not a fighter. I also worry about Wall Street with her and what her real positions are.

            As I wrote, a letter sent then is not my concern, as he would be writing to an audience he worried could get it and use it against him.

            Remember, it was not a sure thing Clinton would bear Dole, and in reality, Clinton was far better than Dole would have been.

            i can see some truth in her comments, and yet am not going to state she was 100% honest with these comments either.

            And I wrote above about evolving and agree with you there. I just am not willing to be like BP and cry about the Clintons and how they responded to where society was then. I understand some political BS. For now, I expect anyone in the Democratic party to be 100% behind us without excuse. With where society is now, the left has no excuses, and that is a very different place than where society was then.

            And please do not get me wrong, I fought then and wish then it had been better, but reality was reality and those idiots like BP who ignore facts for a fantasy world is not you…who writes far better posts than completely dismissing her point. As is with Hillary and Bil, there is always a tiny bit of truth in the spin.

        • Ray Taylor

          He implied he would sign a bill…(effectively to discourage a constitutional amendment).

          • Bill_Perdue

            Defending bigots does harm to the LGBT communities.

            By the time Clinton arrived in Chicago for his party’s convention in August, nothing that hinted at liberalism was left hanging on him. When the President, who had begun his term advocating the rights of gays in the military, came around to supporting the Defense of Marriage Act, which barred federal recognition for gay and lesbian unions, Dole was wide-eyed. “Is there anything we’re for that he won’t jump on?” Dole asked. The answer, essentially, was nothing… http://www-cgi.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1996/analysis/time/9611/23/kramer/

          • Julien Pierre

            You got the first part right, before the parentheses.

        • guest

          I would also add, like it or not, any group has the right to demand immediate changes.Politicians have to understand this and the group has to understand there may unintended consequences to their push from how and when they do it.

          That written, one can ask if how and when that push happens is in the best interest of the overall movement or want. I would submit that if our community did to Obama what we did to Clinton and society had not changed, was exactly where it was, Obama would have had the same result as Clinton did.

          Society had changed and Obama did make it clear to our community that things could come. Clinton failed to directly community to our community, and who knows, with HIV still not having as many drug options, and the anger that was rightfully there, maybe that comment by Clinton would not have been heard anyway.

          Also, our group back then demanded immediate action on a new President, and that may have been historically too fast to do in months. Maybe it was a year or two process. I am just noting facts and a reasonable, non-emotional view on how our government actually works. And yes, we tried that with Obama, that demand immediate action, and the result was the same, we had to wait for a process to occur…with Obama being better at explaining and stating the expectation.

          Like it or not, in reality, with facts, and in the real world, there are so many times when making the perfect the enemy of the good is what occurs. I am all for long constant pressure on the elected people, but I am also for the holding of any money until the action is completed. Those few very large gay donors who cancelled checks and stopped sending money is what lead to the first Obama White House press conference.

          And yes, in my opinion, as an example of where a community can harm the whole process by demanding perfection that defeats any progress at all, and with the realization that it is a fact that in the USA, progress is only made in small steps, that our Trans brothers and sisters have hurt the larger group and themselves too. We have got to find a way to prove to our brothers and sisters that a step now means the fight will never be over and off some proof of that, with the next bill being immediately entered. We need to accept half loafs when that is all that is possible.

          I remind people what Winston Churchill said about the USA, to paraphrase, “you can count on America doing the right thing only after it has tried everything else.”

          (And for the record, Churchill was talking about the whole country, but when you look at a past leader of the right, William F. Buckley, who said the purpose of the Republicans are to stand in the path of progress and yell stop, (paraphrase) you have to agree that Churchill was mostly noting the problem with America was the right. And the right demanded that Obama not sent the bust of Churchill back to the placed that loaned it to the White House. More proof the right are idiots who refuse to learn history.

          In summary, like it or not, our community, and society in general had roles to play in DOMA and DADT and what they were sold to be and what they factually were. And like it or not, I am convinced with where I was working then, that we pushed Clinton too fast in the first 3 or 4 months. We would have been far better to push quietly on these issues.

          We must also always remember that a group that was part of the evil that was DADT and DOMA (only partially struck down anyway) was the right in the county. They are the true reasons for so much done to harm our group.

          I have commented more on DADT, and with DOMA, I also can see that DOMA was being a way to prevent a Constitutional Amendment from getting the votes. I am willing to discount a letter written in our modern society from back then as Clinton trying to not lose the next election and not wanting a written record of where he stood. I also would tend to believe Clinton more if he had stated that in his book when out of office, rather than her stating it now. She also could have written that in her book too, as society had made much progress by the end of Obama’s first term. For her, that is spin, and for her, i suspect that while she may be light years better than anyone on the right, I still see Hillary’s constant caution and caution and caution and refusal to take a stand on so many issues. When you do not take stands, you have to spin later on, and while I will vote for her if she is the nominee, I will always watch the Clintons to make sure pressure of letters, calls, and emails and money is there.

        • Robincho

          Interesting. I’ve got this letter also, verbatim. Slightly different date…

          • Steven Leahy

            Wow…..he had a wide enough audience on this question to send out a canned form letter. How intimate and caring.

      • Christopher Smith

        This. Thank you, GOL, as usual. The witch hunts were subhuman behavior, and they went on for DECADES.

      • coram nobis

        ” … as long as their orientation was not made public.” Yes, although it could be as simple as an anonymous tattle to your CO. You got found out, you got thrown out, and the witch hunts only escalated after DADT passed and Clinton just sat there and let it happen. By 2004 there had been 10,000 DADT discharges, as well as a sharp increase in male-on-female harassment (those who didn’t submit could, and often did, get reported as suspected lesbians). That witch hunt, and not the signing of the bill, is what was an unforgivable betrayal.

        • Randy Left Brooklyn

          You can see multiple people on here who were in the service both pre-DADT and post-DADT and they all agree it was an improvement. Yet somehow you have in in that DADT was a disaster for gays. It wasn’t. It wasn’t as good as billed, but it did move the ball forward.

          • Toasterlad

            I served pre-DADT, and I don’t agree with it being an improvement at all. When I served, no one talked about being gay; I served alongside some of the most flamboyant men I’ve ever met…men who were not shy about dancing up to the line, and occasionally crossing it. Yet, it was generally ignored, by officers and enlisted men alike.

            After DADT, the military was seemingly a fiercely anti-gay environment. Like any civil job, conditions varied from place to place, but the huge spike in discharges bears out that DADT only served to polarize the Services, and was used as an excuse to harass and vilify thousands of men and women, who only wanted to serve their country with as much dignity as they’d been allowed.

          • GarySFBCN

            While I will take your word for it that it was not an improvement, do you think that the intention was to improve things?

          • Toasterlad

            Not really, no. Clearly, no thought – at all – was put into how to enforce the policy of “Don’t Pursue”, which leads me to believe that Clinton just didn’t give a fuck about the issues, and wanted it to go away. His only intention was to “make good” on his campaign promise in a half-assed way, and the ramifications and repercussions interested him not at all.

          • Randy Left Brooklyn

            If you would remember what happened, Clinton signed an executive order ending anti gay discrimination in the military, the GOP pounced on it, and Clinton stopped a truly draconian response by Georgia Democrat Senator Sam Nunn with the DADT compromise. Clinton did try to improve things, got a much bigger backlash than expected, and tried to contain the damage.

            Given the way DADT turned out, the GOP was trying to do the same thing with marriage equality, as Hawaii came very close to legalizing marriage equality in 1994.

            DOMA was a smart response to a very real risk of a constitutional amendment.

          • Toasterlad

            I will grant you that Clinton thought integrating the military would be as easy as signing his name, and was caught off-guard by the vitriol that arose as a result. There is no excuse, however, for not being prepared for that backlash (which did NOT come out of nowhere), nor for not crafting a “compromise” that would protect gay servicemembers.

          • Randy Left Brooklyn

            DOMA passed the Senate by an 85-14 vote. How hard would it have been to get 67 of those people to vote for a constitutional amendment? Over 30 states voted to amend the state constitutions, and that was often a harder process than getting a vote in the state legislature. Get real. There was a likelihood of a constitutional amendment.

          • Toasterlad

            They couldn’t do it in 2004, at the height of anti-gay hysteria over marriage, right after Massachusetts legalized it. There was no way they were getting it done in 1996. Assuming Congress could get two-thirds of both houses to propose an amendment – not a law, an AMENDMENT – it would still need to go to the states, and be ratified by 38 of them. There was no real push for it, or it would have been done. And if it COULD have been done, it WOULD have been done in 2004, when Republicans held all branches of government, So why don’t YOU go ahead and get real.

    • lymis

      The big change, the one that was supposed to make all the difference, was the third clause – “Don’t Pursue.” It was supposed to be, No individual would be asked without clear and present evidence, that things like attending a Pride Parade or being seen in a gay bar weren’t to be sufficient evidence unless the servicemember came out, and that having found one gay servicemember, there were to be no witch hunts.

      That would have been a vast improvement over the previous policies.

      But “Don’t Pursue” got dropped, and while “Don’t Ask” was supposed to be equal in weight to “Don’t Tell”, I’m not aware of any discharges or even formal discipline to anyone who did ask.

      The net effect was a rise in discharges.

      • Steven Leahy

        I think you also have to remember gay consciousness was coming more into the forefront and people were more willing to challenge the rules. I think military members in the eras before DADT were much more likely to remain highly closeted and secretive. There was definitely some witch hunting but some was also just people willing to be more open about who they were.

        • GayOldLady

          I totally agree Steven and I wrote similar thoughts in another comment. Those were very different times and we were beginning to challenge the status quo. That put targets on our backs, not only for service members, but for civilians. We took a lot of chances to win our freedoms. And here we are, 21 years later, much further down the road than we would have been otherwise.

          • Christopher Smith

            So much imbecility , so many stupid comments from people who were not there and have not clue one about the past, GOL….

        • Phil

          And that very act of being open (coming out) is what has and continues to terrify our adversaries. It has consistently been our most potent weapon.

          • Steven Leahy

            Absolutely agree.

          • I think what scares them the most is that more than anything they count on everyone else’s hypocrisy to allow them to be publicly “moral” and privately do whatever they want. Now that people are out of the closet about all sorts of things, not just being gay, they are terrified. It’s the shame that they always used to keep everyone else in line. Now that’s not working and they don’t have any idea what to do which is why they are growing increasingly more angry and incoherent.

      • billbear1961

        You see, THIS is what I meant when I said it wasn’t supposed to be so bad, but that it GOT bad, anyway.

        But some of our fellow posters with direct experience were lucky and didn’t have much trouble.

        I wonder how much it was the “luck of the draw,” as I said to Edmund.

      • What was coming (that no one foresaw) was that it was about to get a lot harder to keep parts of your life separate. And then came social media. Oy. Anyone really in the closet now is behind the shoe tree with an old coat over them!

    • greenmanTN

      Initially it was promoted as Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t PURSUE and was supposed to be an improvement over the former policy. However, the military didn’t keep their part of the bargain and dismissals of gay personnel actually increased under DADT. In this instance I think Clinton really was trying to make a bad situation better.

      Regarding DOMA I’m not so sure that was the case.

      • Now Clinton acts like he was backed into a corner on DOMA, but in 1996 he ran radio ads all over the south bragging about singing that bill into law. That hardly sounds like someone who regretted doing something. He was proud of it. Yes, they have “evolved”. Great. I really would prefer a candidate who didn’t evolve until well after over 50% of the country had done so. Is leadership too much to ask for these days?

        • Beagle

          Not to mention, he fell all over himself to endorse DOMA the moment it was introduced. Not the least effort even to water it down.

        • Christopher Smith

          Perhaps you don’t remember the emetic and nauseating celebrations by ALL politicians of DOMA? Or the vomitous majorities by which most of those fascist state ‘amendments’ passed?
          Yeah, DOMA was an atrocity and Slick Willy was scum for bragging about it. His behavior, however, was PAR FOR THE COURSE.

          • GayOldLady

            I remember when DADT passed, listening to the straight people in my office whispering about how “shameful” it was to knowingly allow L/G’s to stay in the military as long as they didn’t “tell”. I would ask the rhetorical question that every gay person stuck in an office full of straight people asks, “I wonder how many Gays have died for you in service to this country?” because there always were, and always will be LGBT folks in our Armed Forces.
            And then DOMA happened and the straight people in my work sphere were rejoicing. I was out to many people I worked with and they’d literally apologize to me for being publicly “happy” that I would never be able to marry. And then they’d try to explain to me why they were entitled to civil contract I was not entitled to the same contract. I’d put forth my arguments and I could almost watch them sail over their heads. But now I’m married to my spouse of 31 years and I wonder if they think of me and how abominably they behaved toward me, to all of us during that time.

          • Christopher Smith

            I think I’m younger chronologically, GOL, but I remember the amazing hate and ugliness. There is a really hideous xenophobia (and atavism) woven into US ‘culture’ and we see it in all of the racist/homophobic pandering by the clown car candidates, and the Republican party period, to this day–in a way, worse, because even more extreme.

          • fuow

            And worse yet because gay men and young women in overwhelming numbers don’t vote.

          • Christopher Smith

            YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • Christopher Smith

            This is the crux of our very serious problem with rising fascism on all fronts: ‘religious freedom’ as the Xtofascists now couch their bigotry, the insane antichoice ‘laws’ which will eventually destroy abortion by the death of a thousand cuts, etc, ad infinitum. It is difficult to believe the inertia and apathy (the politest way to express it) of those who do not bother to vote or to defend their extremely fragile rights.

          • Steven Leahy

            One does wonder, right? The way LGBT people have been treated, and treated OPENLY and unabashedly, is nothing short of shameful.

          • GayOldLady

            I’m sure, like every other gay person on this blog, I could write a novel about what’s been said and done to my partner and I, and what I’ve seen done to other gay people. It’s a wonder we’ve been able to keep our sense of decency throughout our lives, but I think most of us have.

          • Ninja0980

            And it still goes on.
            The fact Tony Perkins, Peter Spriggs, Maggie Gallanger etc are given air time to spew their gunk without being called on it sickens me.

          • Ninja0980

            Sad to say but I bet the answer is no.
            Most bigots don’t change their spots, they only learn not to talk about it.

          • I remember it quite well. I even had friends who refused to vote for him in 96 was a result. We lived in NY so it didn’t put a dent in the re-election. (I don’t think they’d have voted Green or whatever if they thought it would mean a Dole victory.) It was a horrible time. I remember going into 1998 furious that Human Rights Campaign had endorsed Al D’Amato because I (needlessly as it turned out) feared that the GOP was going to get a super-majority in the Senate and be able to block everything including judges. In fact Democrats picked up seats in spite of Clinton and the national party not doing a damn thing to help in Congressional and local races.

            There have been, btw, some good articles recently about how the Democratic Party while doing great in terms of the White House is doing miserably at the state and local level, even in blue states and it’s because liberals think we can do everything in Washington. GGGRRRRRRR!!!!!!! What fucktards. Fire Debbie Wasserman-Schultz yesterday and let’s start being a national party!

          • Christopher Smith

            HRC has improved not a jot since. What a farce it is (not Ms Clinton, the Human Rights Campaign) to this day. Yes, I agree with you about the worthless Wasserman-Schultz. Fire her years ago.
            You forget gerrymandering, however, and election fraud….the two ways Rethugs have gotten Congress. Those are going to require more than state organization to fix.

          • Ninja0980

            Howard Dean tried to warn Democrats about state and local races and was shoved out the door for it.
            Also, you can’t complain about the government you get if you don’t vote.
            Sitting him and pouting instead of voting only hurts us, not the Republicans.

        • Ninja0980

          He’s not as bad as Chuck Schumer who was and is a lying snake whom I don’t trust.
          He was in NO danger of losing his seat in Congress back in 96 yet he chose to vote yes on this piece of crap, just like so many others did.

          • I met Shumer and he is an capital A ASSHOLE! But now that my senators are Cruz and Cornyn…*sigh*.

          • Ninja0980

            At least they are honest about where they stand.

        • Bill_Perdue

          If you’re asking Republicans or Democrats, it is way to much to ask for.

    • It was sold as an improvement but in reality it wasn’t. It also angered both sides on that issue.

    • TexPlant

      it was a compromise at the time, but it was applied unevenly.

    • I read that in the Second World War the military did not care who was gay or not. They just needed bodies. I read that the anti gay crusade really took off in the McCarthy era. I am not sure about this.

      • RoFaWh

        Some students of gay life think that WWII is responsible for the rise of today’s gay community. All those young men brought together from all over the country led to the gays among them discovering, mirabile dictu, that they weren’t alone.

        Another point: all history is contingent. Had the facts been different, the long term outcome would have been different — and by no means necessarily better than what has in fact been achieved. IOW, things could have turned out much worse than they did.

    • Gerry Fisher

      It was complicated.

    • Christopher Smith

      It was, and would have been more so had they actually obeyed it. ‘don’t pursue’ was the part the Nazi homophobes ignored. Rather like the NRA’s EDITED version of the Second Amendment…

    • Toasterlad

      Discharges of gay servicemembers spiked sharply after DADT. It was not in any way an improvement. I don’t believe it could even credibly said to have been CONCEIVED as an improvement. There was no recourse for servicemembers “accused” of “being gay”; no oversight on the military to ensure they were abiding by the terms of the agreement. So they did what the majority always do when they believe the status quo is being threatened: they cracked down on the minority to make sure they knew their place.

      You could argue that we were going to go through this to get an integrated military no matter what, with Clinton’s “help” or without it. I would not make that argument. The man was the Commander and Chief of the Armed Forces, and it was within his power to establish oversight to protect the rights of the servicemembers under his command. Instead he turned a blind eye, happy to have the gays off his plate, confident he could chalk up that steaming pile of shit as a campaign promise kept.

  • Steven Leahy

    I don’t LIKE DADT, but she’s right on that…..it was a compromise, and was an advancement at the time, though in hindsight sometimes it doesn’t appear to be. However, we have to remember not to be revisionist in our thinking because as most of us who were of age then know, the climate towards LGBT people in the military was extremely hostile at the time.

    DOMA was just fucking evil, no matter how you look at it.

    • lymis

      Remember that Dubya was asked as both a candidate and as President about his support for a Defense of Marriage Amendment, and his answer was always that he did not support such an amendment because the DOMA law was sufficient to prevent gay marriages. Various leading members of Congress and the Republican Party said the same thing, often.

      Whether or not Clinton saw DOMA as a defensive action at the time he signed it, there can be no question that it served as one once it was in place.

      Sucks. Absolutely sucks. And while Hillary pointed out that sometimes a President has to choose the lesser evil from among bad choices, and Bill has come out in favor of marriage equality and broader LGBT equality since, I don’t believe he’s ever explicitly stated that he’s sorry he was forced into such a choice and regrets the effects it had on people’s lives. If so, it’s been a statement of his own personal feelings, but not a “It shouldn’t have had to be that way, and I regret the pain it caused, even if I couldn’t stop it.”

      • Steven Leahy

        Agree with most of what you wrote but as you state, I have NEVER seen Bill express one iota of regret as to his positions. He was better than his predecessors but definitely never what I would call an LGBT rights advocate in any sense. Hard to tell, but I don’t necessarily see DOMA as a future-thinking protective move on his part, rather just the more hassle-free route to take. However, the times were different then, and infinitely more hostile towards us than they are today.

        • No, he hasn’t expressed regret but he does express anger and defensiveness when asked about it. Meanwhile I was stuck defending him for lying under oath. The Clintons were always a mixed bag for me, and I go back to when he was my governor.

        • Gerry Fisher

          Well stated. One frustrating aspect about the Clintons is the gap between what they accomplished and the level of gratitude/adoration we’re supposed to be showing them for how things went down. “Good but not great” is not good enough for the Clintons.

      • Oscarlating Wildely

        “Whether or not Clinton saw DOMA as a defensive action at the time he signed it, there can be no question that it served as one once it was in place”

        This is correct. Remember: GWB renewed the call for an amendment during his presidency as well. The response before that time was that it was not needed due to DOMA.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8jb3hxAsAU

        Crappy, awful, heinous bill. It blocked what could have been worse.

        • Larry Ft Pierce

          I hope this is yet one more sin by which DUHBYUH is remembered.

        • And couldn’t get it through even though there was supposedly overwhelming support for it. Hmmmm.

      • Mawm

        But it’s not a, “whether or not” I clearly remember it being characterized that way at the time. It infuriates me when younger gays given all the freedom now, trash what Clinton did. He was the first President to even acknowledge that we existed. He tried to let us serve openly in the military. DaDT was a step forward, a compromise, not what he intended, and if you can allow yourself to believe that he did originally intend to have open service, how can you think the same person that supports open LGBT service is the same person who really wants to make sure those same people can’t get married?
        DOMA was a defensive act and thank you, thank you Clintons for creating that firewall, because otherwise we could easily be faced today in 2015 with the task of undoing a constitutional amendment, something a 1000 times more difficult than what we just went through.

        • LAguy323

          I see someone’s working on her revisionist history book.

      • Gerry Fisher

        I don’t spite them for choosing the lesser of two evils. I mistrust them somewhat (though remember, I’m on Hillary’s side for President now) because they failed to communicate that it was the lesser of two evils. They’ve failed to communicate it for years (perhaps a more charitable way to say it is that their communications have become gradually more honest and complete as these past two decades have passed).

        That letter from Clinton that one of our folks have posted into this thread? I didn’t read anything that resembled “the lesser of two evils.” We *needed* to hear something like that, and they withheld it for the sake of political expediency. They withheld it for a long, Long, LONG time.

    • JustSayin’

      Evil compared to what? A constitutional amendment to make us permanently criminals? Remember at that time even the ama was still classifying gays as having mental and psych problems just for being gay. The fundies of the day were trying to get their dogma entrenched into our constitution using fear and hate. Doma stopped a bunch of that in its tracks.

      I certainly hated it, but I also remember the times and the speeches and the public views back then.

      • Steven Leahy

        The Am Psych association removed homosexuality as a disorder in 1973 and the Am psychological association did same in 1975. ‘

        I came of age in the early 1980’s so I lived the society, the comments, the mentality, the policy, and I know exactly what it was like. I was also in the military then which was extra-hostile. BTW a fed. marriage amendment didn’t make us “criminals” any more than DOMA did. That didn’t mean either one of them was not evil, they were both means to stave off gay marriage.

        Just because it was somewhat “less bad” than an alternative doesn’t mean it wasn’t evil. Clinton and many others were ALL opposed to SSM at the time so you could say DOMA was an easier means to achieve the desired end rather than some forward-thinking block to stave off an amendment. Sorry, the authors of DOMA get no credit from me.

  • Larry Ft Pierce

    Great interview, after 11 hours of hell the day before, she was “fresh as a daisy!” WHERE does she get the energy? amazing

    • Austin Bennett

      Drugs, if you believe the Cons.

      • Drudge is running headlines that she is ill and has a thyroid problem and a druggies and this and that because she spoke slow (which any lawyer will make sure you do at a deposition which this hearing was) and coughed for 20 seconds in her final hour. He is truly a horrible person, he spends his life thinking of ways to bring Hillary down. He needs his comeuppance.

        • Eebadee-eebadee-thatsallfolks

          Drudge’s punishment, which is cruel & unusual, is that he has to go through every day of his life being Matt Drudge.

        • Drudge. Closet case asshole. Only someone who has never been under lights and performance pressure for such an extended period of time could make such comments. Actually the longest show I’ve ever been in was only half as long as the hearings and even then I wasn’t on stage the whole time! She coughed a little? WTF???

          • GayOldLady

            Drudge is a RECLUSE, he couldn’t take being on camera for 1 second, much less 11 hours of non-stop badgering. He would have pooped & wet his pants, cried and had a panic attack if he had been the target of what the GOP shoved at her in that committee hearing. I thought I was listening to the interrogation of a POW, instead of the a former Senator and a former SOS. It was disgraceful and Drudge is an asshat!!!!

        • vorpal

          It just amazes that she had a coughing spell and it is being analyzed like she declared a war or something.

        • skeptical_inquirer

          One of my bad habits is that I enjoy flipping through (but not buying) tabloids because of the trashy gossip. Drudge is just basically aping the National Enquirer and the Globe.

        • GayOldLady

          That coughing spell looked to be the result of a drink of water that apparently didn’t go down exactly right. She recovered quickly and was on her toes with intelligent, educated answers from start until finish.
          So WHERE IS DRUDGE ON BEN CARSON’S SLOW SPEECH, SLOW EYE BLINK, SLOW RESPONSE TIME?
          If Matt Drudge wants to question someone’s health he needs to start with Ben Carson’s mental health.

        • Austin Bennett

          That’s what I said…

        • BudClark

          He NEEDS to have his ASS STEAM-CLEANED!

    • LonelyLiberal

      Devouring the souls of unbaptized children, of course!

    • vorpal

      I can’t speak for Hillary, but hearing conservatives bitch and whine and make utter fools of themselves is something that I find incredibly rejuvenating and refreshing: it makes me feel like a little crazy kitten once again!

    • That Guy

      By all accounts (even from Republicans) she knocked the Benghazi hearing out of the park. She’s probably still riding the high from that. Not to mention she had a solid debate performance a few weeks ago.

  • S1AMER

    She’s right on the marriage amendment. I think Bill should have fought harder against DOMA (and wish he had!) but, really, it was an election year and the Republicans were threatening an amendment instead of a law as a way of pressuring Bill and down-ticket Democrats. It’s worth while going back to look at the Democratic votes for DOMA from prominent Democrats who are still in the House and Senate (or are now VP) to realize how cowardly most Democrats were when it came to the notion of marriage in 1996. There’s a very good chance that, had Bill vetoed DOMA, we might have had a Republican in the White House in 1997 — and a DOMA anyhow (maybe a constitutional amendment) in 1997 instead of 1996.

    As far as DADT goes, that wretched bill truly was an improvement on the dishonorable discharges that had been the rule before 1993. Bill was well-intentioned in promising during his campaign that he’d end military bans on service by gays the way Harry Truman had ended bans on a racially integrated military. But he was also politically naive in thinking Democrats in Congress (never mind Republicans) would go along with that.

    Painful as it can be for us, Hillary’s right in stating that politicians and elected officials must sometimes chose between what’s bad and what’s even worse.

    • Larry Ft Pierce

      agreed……….

    • JustSayin’

      Calling the then Democrats cowardly, back steps every thing else you said. Reality is not cowardice.

      • bill weber

        It’s always the right time for doing the right thing. Excuses, excuses.

      • More excuses for why the Democrats don’t have a spine. Revolting.

    • GarySFBCN

      Bill Clinton was very much opposed to same-sex marriage. While I do believe what HRC said about DADT, her spin on DOMA seems like a lot of BS.

      • Steven Leahy

        It is quite ironic how he openly supports discrimination against LGBT people in several forms and is completely unashamed of it, while saying how strongly he opposes discrimination in your letter. What a two-faced slime weasel. Thank you for sharing your letter.

    • Gerry Fisher

      >There’s a very good chance that, had Bill vetoed DOMA, we might have had a Republican in the White House in 1997

      I doubt this. He crushed Dole.

      But I agree with the point that the constitutional amendment would have been a bigger threat.

    • Bill_Perdue

      Clinton was ahead in the polls from day one. He pushed DOMA because he is and was a bigot. HRH HRC didn’t endorse marriage equality until 72 hours before her announcement that she was running.

      There never was a threat of a constitutional amend until another Dixiecrat introduced one 2002.

  • JohnMyroro

    I have always believed this. I clearly remember the times. Those of you who lived in New York or California may scoff, but those of us who lived in Texas are aware that there were enough votes in the House to pass a constitutional proposal and enough state legislatures to approve it. The only real question at the time was whether the Senate would approve it. And DADT was a compromise after Clinton tried to simply allow open service by executive order the way Truman had desegregated the armed forces. It is easy now to think that there was no way the frigging Constitution could have been amended to outlaw our rights to marriage virtually forever, but it was a real threat. Just look at the number of votes in the Congress, from both parties, that DOMA got. It was overwhelming.

    • Larry Ft Pierce

      agreed

    • Now Anon

      That’s the way I remember it.

    • David in Tucson

      And don’t forget all the states that amended their own constitutions because anti-marriage laws (including DOMA) weren’t enough! No, they had to make sure their bigotry was enshrined in their state constitutions.

      • Bj Lincoln

        Ohio didn’t amend their constitution until a referendum in the same election Shrub Jr. cheated for the second time. I was so depressed, I was ready to move to Canada.

    • Gerry Fisher

      I don’t recall a US constitutional amendment receiving a lot of public attention, but that might be because of the rapid acceptance of DOMA. (Two things to consider: my memory is not always the best, and I was not privy to backroom chatter and conversations in DC.) At the time, in the public arena, the “US constitutional amendment” thing seemed more conjecture than real. Though Hillary’s point is valid: DOMAs defeat would have changed that equation.

    • Ninja0980

      California passed a marriage ban twice and NY didn’t pass a ban ONLY because Democrats controlled the House and never would have let a bill like that get through.
      The Republicans in the State Senate and Pataki would have had no qualms voting yes and many of the Democrats as well.

      • Bill_Perdue

        “California passed a marriage ban twice” because HRC/Equality California were inept and run buy Democrats and because

  • billbear1961

    Hillary, we can NEVER let our guard down–NEVER!

    The fascists do not give the impression they’ve ceded ANYTHING–LISTEN to the maniacs!

    Semper vigilo!!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVcZaolzwkU

    • Bj Lincoln

      Perfect. Thank you.

      • billbear1961

        Semper vigilo!

        🙂

  • Mike Thakar

    Oddly, there was only 1 true very vocal opponent to DADT, and that was Barry Goldwater, R- AZ, who on the Senate floor, stated, “All I care about is if they can shoot straight!”

    DADT was sponsored by EXTREMELY liberal Dem. Rep. Ron Dellums, Berkeley. In deed, DADT was an action to make things better than they were. Even Barney Frank worked to pass DADT.

    AND, prior to DOMA, indeed, the Repugnatans were attempting to pass a constitutional amendment, one that had significant public support. DOMA, with all its evils, did end that effort to amend the constitution.

    *****
    One HUGE factor missing in the discussions, Clinton ushered in billions of dollars to finally begin a government effort on HIV/AIDS. In politics, you give up shit to get shit. They gave in on DADT and DOMA, but gained billions of dollars to fight HIV/AIDS.

    *****
    Not saying they made they right or wrong decisions, but those were the results. DADT was better than outright bands; DOMA was better than a constitutional amendments; research, treatment, and care at the cost of billions went to HIV/AIDS.

  • Phil

    DOMA was a prime example of a poorly thought out law. It was written at a time when there were no legally recognized same-sex marriages anywhere. The legislature in Hawaii was debating it, but it never came to anything. Civil Unions were years away too. Once Massachusetts started issuing licenses, it became very apparent how faulty it was (violated the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the US Constitution). It was so bad that it began to unravel after Windsor, and tossed into the fire with Obergefell. I suspect Bill Clinton knew this, but at the time there was no way to test or challenge it. A lot of people called Bill Clinton a lot of things, but stupid wasn’t one of them.

  • GayOldLady

    I don’t think there’s any doubt about the original intent of DADT, but the homophobia in the U.S. Military being what it was at the time, many of the Officers sought to circumvent DADT and found ways to successfully do so. Still, those were the same conditions that everyone in the LGBT community lived with at that time. My partner lost 2 jobs because of her sexual orientation. I have friends who lost jobs, child custody, housing, just for being gay. The more active and OUT we became, the more afraid the homophobes became and they more they sought to hurt us. This is exactly why it took us so long to begin to change the paradigm and that is why we still do not have ENDA.

    • Eebadee-eebadee-thatsallfolks

      Excellent synopsis of the last 30 years of gay history!

      • Beagle

        Yes. I came out in the late ’80s. AIDS was priority #1, #2, and #3. Marriage wasn’t even a dream until some time in the ’90s.

  • JustSayin’

    Despite the rantings of some always angry members of thengay population, she is right on the money with those statements. People have to accurately remember those daya, those hearings and those political speeches meant to incite enough anger that the public would allow gays to be jailed and even executed just for being gay.

    While dadt and doma sucked in many ways, it beat the real and then present alternatives.

  • Blah blah blah. Same shit, different day. Actually Bill’s explanations are worse because basically he gets angry and defensive when asked and blames gay people for not having better polling numbers. Bill never did anything without checking with the pollsters first.

    What I have to ask is, how is this any different from the Republicans who tell me they aren’t anti-gay but they have issues that are important to them too. They threw us under the bus and in a similar situation Hillary would do it again. Now it probably won’t come to that but since she only supported gay rights when she absolutely had to in order to be a viable candidate I can’t imagine how I’m supposed to ever trust her on gay rights.

    • bill weber

      Thank you. The trained Democrat seals here never cease to amaze me.

      Like her husband (heh heh), she doesn’t believe anything the polls don’t tell her.

      • 8 years from now we will have a nominee who always supported gay rights, because that will be the norm by then. I hope I’m around to see that and not having to compromise to support someone who’s “better than the alternative”. I want good, not just “not as bad”.

        • What?

          Yes, there are already some ambitious politicians who have long held pro-gay views, exactly as you say. Cory Booker, for example, supported LGBTs back in college (during George H.W. Bush’s administration, I believe).

    • Eebadee-eebadee-thatsallfolks

      Although I have been feeling steadily better about her recently, I agree that most of her career she has been a follower and not a leader on LGBT equality, and she definitely has a strong “pragmatist disposition”. But the same could’ve been said -and was said- about Obama up until 2010, and since then he has turned out to be the best President ever for LGBT Americans (& their families & allies – let’s not forget them). With Hillary, there is a strong chance and even a likelihood that things will keep getting better or at least won’t get worse. There is not one single Republican candidate that can be said about. So if she gets the nomination, I’m voting for her.

      • I can’t believe I keep having to say this. Yes, I will vote for her if she’s the nominee and I think that’s highly likely. I’m just tired of having to support people who don’t support me. It’s always been a one-way street with the Clintons though. They are loyal to no one, but demand loyalty to themselves.

        • Ninja0980

          I’m tired of it too but the way I look at it is that whatever Clinton is, the Republicans will be worse, as will their judges.
          Sucks it has to be that way, it truly does.

    • Gerry Fisher

      I think that the most reasonable strategy today is to elect Hillary and keep fiercely pushing her left. Look at what Bernie’s presence has done. We don’t need too much from her in regard to LGBT rights at this point.

      • The hell we don’t!

        In most states people can still be legally discriminated against for being gay. We also need a justice department that will actually enforce what law and case law does protect us. Clinton has been making the empty promise of a gay rights bill this last week. She knows better than anyone that she has no hope of getting such a bill through Congress. Are you forgetting how much we had to pressure the Obama administration to the point of wealthy gays having to threaten not to donate to his re-election campaign?

        We aren’t even close to done, but lucky you if you live in a deep blue area where it seems that way!

        • Ninja0980

          Heck, even in Blue areas it’s not all roses.
          Andrew Cuomo had to use an EO to get protections for trans individuals in NY because our State Senate has refused to pass it whether it’s been controlled by Democrats or Republicans.

      • Toasterlad

        Instead of electing the guy who’s already left? Yeah, brilliant strategy.

  • ErikDC

    I would also like to point out that Bill Clinton gave us Ruth Bader Ginsburg, replacing the much more conservative Byron White, who wrote the majority decision against us in Bowers v. Hardwick.

    • TexPlant

      scares me if the GOP wins the White House as the next president will have so much power w/the configuration of the Supreme Court RBG can’t last another 4 years and she has been a strong supporter

    • Ninja0980

      Indeed, and he also have us many of the Circuit and District court judges who ruled against the gay marriage bans.

  • Bluespiral58

    I clearly remember Bill Clinton wanted gays to be able to serve openly in the military. I also remember that there was almost no gay movement supporting him on this and the outcry from the military forced him to into the DADT compromise, which, at the time, seemed sensible to me.

    • Gerry Fisher

      If you want some good “sausage making” tales about how DADT came about, I highly recommend “Frank,” by Barney Frank. It wasn’t as simple as “three was almost no gay movement supporting him on this.” HRC was in existence then, though it wasn’t as big as it is now. Having read Frank’s account, I’d say that one of the issues was lack of coordination between various entities that were trying to help. That and a very shrewd opposition in Congress (some were Democrats) and from Colin Powell.

      • coram nobis

        I was in Washington during 1993 briefly, and there was very little coordination by the pro-gay side in Congress. I did some lobbying on my own in June and in Senate office after office, it was like, “Where the hell have you guys been? You’re the first one to show up here.”

        And that, children, is how we lost that war. It was only later that the Servicemembers’ Legal Defense Network started doing the effective and slow work to get DADT repealed.

  • EdA

    I continue to be upset that President Clinton actually signed DOMA when he could have simply allowed it to become law without his approval. But regretfully, both DADT and DOMA were the lesser scummy alternatives to the Nuremburg laws that the Republiscum and Democrats such as Sam Nunn from the slave states of the Confederacy wanted. Even if a constitutional amendment had not received the super-majority required in each house, if it had received even a simple majority in only one of the houses, it would have been a major set-back.

    Let’s not forget that just a few years later, in 2004, with the aid of Quisling Mehlman, anti-gay measures passed, sometimes overwhelmingly, in all of the states in which they were introduced.

    • Gerry Fisher

      Glad you mentioned Sam Nunn. He was a major douche.

      • EdA

        He is still alive, Gerry, so presumably he still is a major douche, despite his work for Nunn-Lugar nuclear arms control, which got the last of the pseudo-moderate Republicans primaried for excessive rationality.

        Given that we have independently been posting on many of the same issues to many of the same sites (e.g., the Boston Glob), perhaps we should meet sometime.

  • bill weber

    She and Bill are SUCH scum.

    • billbear1961

      Let’s get a goddamned Republican in the White House–one of the bastards who won’t even stand up for the RULE OF LAW–and see what the FASCIST puts on the courts.

      Then, we can have a debate about what scum REALLY means!

      Do you want all the progress under Obama UNDONE?!

      • The thought of a Republican putting more conservatives on the Supreme Court (and lower courts) is too, too horrifying.

        The only thing that would be worse? Donald Fucking Trump being the Republican choosing them.

        • What?

          Don’t worry, Trump’s already unraveling. Apparently Iowans are unable to see his obvious greatness.

          • Beagle

            It isn’t like President Ben Carson or President Marco Rubio would be better.

          • Julien Pierre

            At least we know what Rubio is made of. Trump would start WW III . Carson, really hard to say. I don’t want to think about it !

            Let’s not let any of them happen.

      • AJayne

        While we’re at it, let’s start taking back state and local governments, the breeding ground for RWNJs to prove their “up and coming” chops. Nip them in the bud, so to speak.

        • billbear1961

          They wouldn’t listen to Howard Dean and his 50-state strategy!!

          And, now, if the GOP gets control of a few more state governments, the fascist SCUM could call a Constitutional Convention and turn the Constitution into a NAZI RAG!!

          THAT’S what we’ve let happen in this country, AJ!

          If people don’t start voting in BIG numbers–IF they can even get INTO a voting booth, what with all the GOP efforts to suppress the vote!!–we’re going to LOSE this democratic republic!

          It happened to the Weimar Republic in Germany–it could happen HERE!

          It is the NIGHTMARE scenario that HAUNTS me!!

          • Ninja0980

            Indeed, you want to look at gaffes the Democratic party made, ignoring Howard Dean and his focus on the states was the biggest one, along with ignoring the courts.

      • coram nobis

        It matters hugely who gets to pick judges, esp. Supreme Court justices, and is the one compelling reason to vote for Hillary. It’s not just undoing Obama’s legacy at risk, it’s the long term — we may be rid of W. but we’ll be stuck with Roberts and Alito till at least 2040, and there’s a 5-4 majority on the Court that could leave us with decades of bad economic law. (Ask any legal historian about the “Lochner” court of the last century).

        • Ninja0980

          Same on the circuit courts too.
          Bush Jr used the same playbook his father and St. Ronnie did and made sure to put younger, far right conservatives who will haunt us for decades on the various Circuit Courts and as fewer cases make their way to SCOTUS, these courts are often the place of last resort.
          Obama managed to undo the damage on some of these courts such as the 4th but it wouldn’t take much for a Republican to turn the clock right back.

      • Silver_Witch

        No BillBear we do not want what the President has done is undone. Let’s vote for change and Bernie. That is how we can make a big change.

        • Toasterlad

          RIGHT.

      • Toasterlad

        The progress made under Obama was literally made UNDER Obama. He is not responsible for it. WE are.

        WE moved the country to the point where a majority accepted same-sex marriage. WE brought the cases to the courts and fought tooth and nail to get them won. WE came out to our families and neighbors and co-workers. WE marched and donated and called and wrote and voted to move equality forward.

        Cowering in fear of what the Republicans would do to us is precisely the reason that Bill Clinton was able to get away with taking a giant dump on us. It’s why the Democratic party has never been held responsible for taking our money and giving us their scorn at best.

        It is long past time that the LGBT community developed a little self-respect. Stop making excuses for politicians treating us like shit, and start making DEMANDS.

        • billbear1961

          We AND our allies in the straight community.

          I do not appreciate the implication that I COWER in fear of what the GOP will do to us if they win the election next year, or that I lack SELF-RESPECT!

          I’m as OUTSPOKEN as I BLOODY know HOW to be, and have frequently been told–not a lot on THIS site, but on MANY others–that I’m too aggressive, that my MOUTH is too BIG!

          Very sorry if what I have to say and what I do in an effort to PREVENT a FASCIST takeover in this benighted country isn’t good enough–for YOU!

          • Toasterlad

            You should be more concerned that it’s not good enough for YOU.

            We have tried electing the lesser of two evils for 40 years, and watched the government move ever rightward, to the point where a Democratic president can declare himself open to cuts to social security, and no one bats an eye. If you keep electing the lesser of two evils, evil always wins.

            Positive change only – ONLY – happens in this country when the people rise up and demand it. #BernieSanders2016

          • billbear1961

            We haven’t even always succeeded in electing the lesser of two evils, have we? The main reason being an apathetic and poorly informed electorate (that foolishly ignores our more socially advanced allies), and media AND “leaders” who won’t stand up strongly for facts, for the TRUTH.

            I like Bernie, but I don’t think he has the temperament to be President. I like Elizabeth Warren even MORE, but she’s not going to be in the Oval Office anytime soon, either.

            You can deplore the situation all you like, TL–like it or not, we’re going to have a choice between Hillary and a THUG.

            If you won’t vote for Hillary because she’s far from perfect, you make it easier for a gangster to get into the White House and for this country to go down the road to FASCISM.

            It is THAT simple.

          • Toasterlad

            Your feelings on Bernie Sanders have no bearing on whether or not he’ll be the Democratic nominee, and are certainly not shared by the hundreds of thousands who have come out to hear him speak, and the millions more who have worked and/or donated on his behalf.

            If you won’t vote for Sanders because he’s less than perfect, you are validating the system that you claim to hate.

            It’s THAT simple.

    • Jean-Marc in Canada

      Yes, because the alternatives were SO much better. Why is it people don’t understand how politics, and reality for that matter, work? You have to play the hand you’re dealt, you don’t get to rig the game……though many try.

      • Sporkfighter

        Politics is the art of the possible. What was possible at that time? Marriage equality? No. Open service in the military? No.

        • What?

          It was possible for DOMA to pass without Bill’s signature. Congress had enough votes for DOMA to override a presidential veto. As we all know, homophobia was an easy way to pander to voters, and what politician could possibly miss that opportunity?

          • Sporkfighter

            Then what difference did Clinton’s signature make? Why judge his actions then by the standards of today? So he was imperfect? So he still is?

            I’m all for progress, but judging the past by the standards of today can accomplish nothing. Learning from the past to inform the present and the future is a different matter. We know what the Republicans would have done on their own. We know what the Republicans would do today. We can extrapolate what they’ll do in 2017 if they win the presidency in 2016.

            You have flawed, imperfect friends who will make your life better, and you have implacable foes who’d be happy to see you die, then gleefully deny the space for your friends to bury you.

      • Silver_Witch

        And that my friend is the bottom line problem. Politics are not for the common man – shall we then surrender to the “political creatures” and let them boil us slowly?

        NO, no, no – it is time for us to stand and stand tall and just say no to those who would betray us while taking our money.

        • Jean-Marc in Canada

          Actually, politics IS for the common man, the problem is, most don’t or can’t be bothered. Further, in many modern, and the not so modern, democracies, far too many people are impressed with money (even the common man)……and therein lies the real crux of the issue. It’s not politics itself, it’s the money and the corruption it brings. Remove the money, which is the symptom, and the body politic will eventually ‘heal.’ In the meantime, short of a violent overthrow and the chaos it would surely generate, we must do what we can to, at the very least, ensure that those who do get in power are not entirely against us.

          • Silver_Witch

            I don’t really think it is don’t – it is many can’t – they have enough struggle surviving, working, families and then the political field is a time bomb.

            I don’t advocate overthrowing anything – there needs to be a change however.

            Interesting bit of American History – only landowners were allowed to vote in America originally because the founding fathers were afraid of the “Rabble” (that would be us working class people). Franklin originally did not want to leave Britain because of his fear of the Rabble.

            Excellent post by you for sure.

      • Toasterlad

        Isn’t it interesting that the hand we’re dealt is always the losing hand?

        The game is absolutely rigged. It is rigged against US. The game is ALWAYS rigged against the minority. THAT’S “reality”. And it doesn’t get changed by “pragmatists” sitting smugly in their chairs while politicians like Bill and Hillary Clinton piss in their faces. It takes people with integrity and principle.

  • Nax

    I have to agree. I can get all pissy about it sometimes, but both of these were the best that could be done at the time. I know I was happier with a second Clinton term than a Dole presidency. Politics is all about doing the best you can with the cards you’re dealt. While I don’t see either Bill or Hillary as people of great principle or integrity, they’re brilliant political creatures, and I’m glad we’re generally working towards the same things.

    • Gerry Fisher

      Nicely summarized!

  • karen in kalifornia

    That’s their story and they’re sticking with it. (That’s long been the Clinton excuse for DOMA, like a federal amendment would ever get through 38 states.)

    • Bj Lincoln

      At the time, there were 38 or more willing to change the Constitution to permanently ban marriage.

      • And yet in 2004 at the height of the anti-gay marriage panic, they couldn’t even get the Amendment through a GOP controlled Congress, so I’m not that sure.

        • Bj Lincoln

          That was Congress. The states were very busy amending their own. That is part of the problems today between the states and federal governments. Congress still hasn’t moved on….well….anything because they are so busy still trying to make Obama look bad.

        • JCF

          While 2004 was the highwater of passing same-sex marriage bans, think about all the organizing in opposition to them! [I was part of that.] Even as they were banning marriage, it was controversial (I think even ardent proponents knew they wouldn’t last). In 1996 there would have been just as easy to push a U.S. Constitutional Amendment, but w/ far less organized opposition.

      • Gerry Fisher

        There weren’t that many states that banned same-sex marriage prior to ’04. There must be some guess work in that number.

      • Silver_Witch

        No there were not 38….

      • Toasterlad

        That is not true.

    • Gerry Fisher

      IMO, the less she talks about it, the better. These talking points are OK, but I think they can do better.

    • Silver_Witch

      Hell they couldn’t get the Equal Rights for Woman amendment – amending the constitution will never happen…

  • I think “We did something bad to avoid something worse” is a worse argument than simply admitting to resorting to political expediency and avoiding a big battle with conservatives. In 2015, it’s much more “politically expedient” to be on the side of LGBT equality (as guys like Mike Pence have discovered).

  • Tempus Fuggit

         Bulk wrap. More specifically: selfgratulatory, very conveniently exculpatory revision of history.

    • Toasterlad

      I was especially annoyed that Maddow clearly couldn’t contain her glee at getting an interview with Clinton, to the point where it obviously biased the interview itself.

      • Tempus Fuggit

        Ugh. I didn’t watch—I don’t watch; I don’t have a television set because I despise being incessantly barked at.

  • Bj Lincoln

    I think she explained what happened pretty well. The fact she has been in on meetings as First Lady for 8 years give her a better handle on what really went on and how the system really works. She knows what it takes to be President better than any other candidate. All this knowledge and her performance yesterday just proves she is more than capable of doing the job and this scares the shit out of the GOP. That and she is…well….female.

    • So we can look for more policies like her husband’s when it comes to aid to working poor families, regulation of corporations, and the rest? That’s hardly reassuring.

      You Clintonistas need to get some better talking points.

    • Gerry Fisher

      >The fact she has been in on meetings as First Lady for 8 years give her a
      better handle on what really went on and how the system really works.

      This is a really interesting opinion. For example, Hillary’s supposed first hand knowledge and political expertise didn’t translate into an effective push for health-care reform. By most accounts, she made a big mess of it; it never had a chance of passing. Also, other than those health care meetings, what other meetings was she attending?!

      On the one hand, I would expect the spouse of the President to have some understanding of conversations that happened with the President, especially ones that happened off the record and outside of meetings. On the other hand, Hillary’s continually passing off her time as First Lady as some kind of co-President is…irksome. I know I didn’t vote for her for President in ’92 or ’96.

      [FWIW, I plan on voting for Hillary at this point in the election cycle.]

      • coram nobis

        That was another compromise that turned to disaster. Those of us in politics at the time tried to warn the Party leadership that it was single-payer or nothing, and she and Bill gave us this horrible complex and compromised health plan that went nowhere. Their idea of “retreat” doesn’t work if you’re on a freeway.

  • Webslinger
  • 2karmanot

    I can believe that because ole’ Billo didn’t have the moral straighten to support what was right.

    • Silver_Witch

      Moral strength was never President Clinton’s strong suit. Sadly, his wife did not seem to care about that.

  • Lakeview Bob

    What Hillary claims was something I always suspected. This did not come as a big surprise to me.

  • canoebum

    When I think of the controversy surrounding the DADT within the gay community, I recall the USS Iowa disaster, and what the Navy did to Clayton Hartwig. It was a shameful chapter in Navy history, made possible by the proscription against serving gay and lesbian sailors. I was never in the military, although I wanted to go into the Coast Guard (I would have loved that work and had seamanship training already), but didn’t because I saw the dangers of being gay in the service, and didn’t want to be subject to the UCMJ. As a halfway measure, DADT produced mixed results, but I think for the most part, incidents like the case of Clayton Hartwig declined greatly.

  • Octavio

    I watched Compared to what: The Improbable Journey of Barny Frank last night. Watched it twice, in fact. He wasn’t thrilled with the way Bill Clinton dealt with DOMA and DADT, but he saw it as a major step in the right direction. I suspect there is a large amount of truth to Hillary’s explanation. If anyone understands that good politics is the mastery of compromise, Barney does. Hillary subscribes to the same philosophy. Can that be said of any of the Republicans serving in the House, Senate or running for president today?

    • coram nobis

      There is a difference between compromise of a position and betrayal of a constituency. To be fair, the GOP does the same to its base: promises them an anti-marriage amendment, doesn’t deliver, but does chip away at their Medicare and Social Security. But it does mean that any voter should be suspicious in election season.

      • Gerry Fisher

        Both Bill and Hillary (though I’ve seen some improvement in Hillary this year) have a way of expressing themselves in the wake of taking a painful politically expedient action that 1) Feels like betrayal, and 2) Feels as if we’re the bad guys for not loving and appreciating them enough, even though *we’re* the community that just took the hit.

        I don’t think they’ve been very skilled at articulating, “I saw the hit you just took with this. I pains me to see you hurt. I know I had a hand in it, but I’ll redouble my efforts to make this right in the long run.” Obama does this beautifully. (Though, to be fair, Obama also had a more receptive climate to getting a lot more done, at least in his first two years.)

        • coram nobis

          “I feel your pain,” said the dominatrix.

    • I’m not quite buying it, because Bill Clinton won, the anti-gay bigots won…and LGBT Americans paid 100% of the price. Normally, in a compromise, everybody gets something, but there was no net positive at all for LGBT folks with DADT or DOMA. Here, we had a situation where the politicians played their little game, decided on an anti-gay outcome, and then tried to spin it to gays and lesbians it was a good thing to have anti-gay discrimination enshrined in law.

      As I remarked above, this isn’t about Democrats and Republicans. It’s about pulling Democrats to the pro-LGBT side of the fence and holding them accountable when they stray. All too often, the GOPers are glad to do anything to appease their base, whereas the Dems seem all too willing to betray theirs whenever it’s expedient. The latter needs to stop.

      • Gerry Fisher

        “Oh, but we’re working on ENDA!” didn’t seem to cut it. He needed to use some of that legendary “I feel your pain” empathy. And he didn’t.

    • Toasterlad

      Barney Frank is a Democrat, first and foremost, before he is anything else, most especially a gay man. If was supporting Clinton on this, you can be assured that it’s Clinton’s well-being he was concerned about, not ours.

      • Octavio

        So, not a Barney Frank fan.

        • Toasterlad

          Not really, no. He’s certainly not the worst guy out there, but as far as gay guys go, he’s more politician than family.

  • Hue-Man

    More historical DADT context, NYT, Oct 11, 1991.

    “Responding to the pressure of court cases, the Government is about to end a policy of barring homosexuals from joining the armed forces, senior military officials say.”

    “Parliamentary officials said the announcement had been held up by objections from some Conservative members. One Tory backbencher from the Toronto area, Don Blenkarn, said that rules had to be introduced to make sure of “decent” behavior on ships or in military barracks.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/1991/10/11/world/canada-ending-anti-gay-army-rules.html

    The change occurred during the Conservative government of Brian Mulroney and came into force in 1992. I’ve always found it comical that the mightiest military force in human history could be threatened by lesbians and gays doing their jobs!

  • I’m glad that we’ve moved past all of this. I served under DADT and it was a very difficult time to be out and gay in the USAF. I look forward to the future. That’s all I have to say about that.

  • coram nobis

    On its face, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was a compromise, but from 1993 on that administration acquiesced to a search-and-destroy witch hunt. The military asked, they told, they canned at least 10,000 servicemembers over the next few years. It was a craven retreat on Clinton’s part, and Hillary’s rationalization now simply revives that memory.

  • Max_1

    Umm… hate me if you must but…
    JIM CROW LAWS WERE NOT AN ADVANCEMENT FROM SLAVERY.
    DADT and DOMA WERE NOT AN ADVANCEMENT FROM HOMOPHOBIA.
    Both allowed the advancement of hate based restrictions AGAINST the object de jour.

  • It wasn’t a compromise; it was political cowardice. Compounded by the fact Bill Clinton could have instituted new military regs to enforce the “Don’t Ask” part — but never did. And could have done similarly for DOMA, to find ways to ameliorate lack of federal recognition for gay and lesbian couples and their families.

    I get it, anti-gay rhetoric was riding high in the early to mid 1990s. I don’t agree, but am almost willing to accept Hillary’s retroactive explanation, that compromise was the best that could be hoped for. But usually in a compromise, each side gets something, even if it’s uneven. Instead, DADT and DOMA were both lose-lose for the gay community. DADT quickly became used to create a ‘witch-hunt’ culture within the military, with gay people tolerated right up until they were no longer needed — THEN they’d be kicked out with dishonorable discharges and denied pension and education benefits. And then there were the extortionistic rapes of women, who’d be accused of being lesbians if they turned away unwanted sexual advances. Gay and lesbian servicemembers were openly blackmailed, but the blackmailers were never prosecuted for their crimes.

    And as for DOMA, from the day it was passed, it was always cited as why, because civil marriages wouldn’t be recognized, there would be no positive finding ever for the rights of gay- and lesbian-headed families. As with DADT, DOMA was always applied in the most anti-gay ways possible.

    Basically, the part I found most offensive was how both Clintons before and Hillary now seem to want to spin DADT and DOMA as not being 100% negative for LGBT Americans. These laws accommodated anti-gay bigotry, and LGBT Americans got nothing in return. Nothing.

    As for the “It could’ve been worse, they might’ve passed a Constitutional amendment” argument” — I’m not buying it. Despite DOMA, for instance, the Republicans went ahead and pushed for the FMA anyway. And didn’t get their amendment, in large part because the barriers to passing an amendment are so high.

    In summary, DADT and DOMA were shit sandwiches forced on LGBT Americans. No amount of spin from either of the Clintons will retroactively make either of the shit sandwiches tasty or nutritious.

    • coram nobis

      “I want to give you my thanks for that struggle… I have a vision and you’re a part of it. I believe we’re all a part of the same community and we’d better start behaving as if we are.” That was Bill Clinton to an LGBT event in May 1992, West Hollywood. He was happy to take their votes and contributions at the time.

      And as for the tactical retreat excuse, what we got instead of a constitutional amendment was GOP pandering to the marriage issue anyway through the 1996 elections and beyond, right through 2004. Cemented their hold on a number of statehouses and the House by riding this issue like a pony, so Bill Clinton’s appeasement gained nothing and lost a lot.

      • Exactly. Effusive promises to make things better, followed by LGBTs being thrown under the bus…which for the next 15-odd years would comprise the default Democratic political strategy.

        That all said, I don’t want to have to do this, but it seems to be required of anyone who criticizes the Dems for their previous anti-gay cowardice: No, I do not support Republicans. I will never vote for a Republican. Come November 2016, I will mark in the circle next to the Democratic candidate’s name for president, whomever she or he may be.

        But none of that means I can’t shame them for their prior betrayals nor relent from pushing for LGBT civil rights. Basically, the don’t get to whitewash what they did and call it a net positive for LGBT Americans. And most of all, I don’t want to witness a return to the “gays, get back under the bus where you belong” BS.

        • coram nobis

          Indeed, and there were other things Bill signed that hurt as well, including tough-on-crime bills like the Violent Crime Act, as well as the Free Trade Agreement and the Glass-Steagal repeal. It was a damaging presidency in many regards but perhaps — perhaps — better than a Dole-Gingrich regime would have been. But let’s not get our hopes up too much about a Hillary administration.

        • Ninja0980

          Indeed, the Democrats history on LGBT rights is nothing to be proud of in many regards.
          Here in NY, they dragged their feet and stabbed us in the back until we fought back and made them realize there was a price to pay for that.

        • Toasterlad

          Then you’d either better not vote for Clinton, or adjust your expectations. Because if she’s elected, under the bus we will surely go. No chance of ENDA being passed under her administration. None.

          • Sorry, but that’s not the answer. I’ll support who I want to support in the primaries, but if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, I’ll vote for her. Even if she turns out to be craven on LGBT rights like her husband was, at least she won’t appoint anti-gay Supreme Court justices, whereas the GOPers are guaranteed to do so.

            As far as I’m concerned, the Third Branch right now is the most important, and at least the Dems haven’t fucked that up.

          • Toasterlad

            We all must act based on our own principles. I’m not suggesting you not vote for Clinton; I’m just saying you shouldn’t imagine she will lift a finger to advance LGBT equality, no matter what she says prior to the election.

    • Gerry Fisher

      >But usually in a compromise, each side gets something, even if it’s
      uneven. Instead, DADT and DOMA were both lose-lose for the gay
      community.

      A true, TRUE ally–someone who really KNOWS and CARES about us–would have understood this, articulated it somehow, and reconnected with us. Obama has done this beautifully.

      I vividly remember LGBT people *trashing* Obama the year before DADT was repealed, primarily for not doing enough, not doing it quickly enough, and not doing it “right.” He was able to talk “political reality” in a way that didn’t trash our relationship, and he quickly followed through with action.

      I think the Clintons are going to forever have bugs up their butts about Obama, because 1) He was *really* our first black President, and 2) He was truly the LGBT community’s fiercest ally in the White House. Obama wins the legacy battle in those two categories.

      • Toasterlad

        Didn’t trash YOUR relationship, you mean.

        Here’s a story that illustrates the relationship with Democrats and gays in microcosm:

        I was a member of Democratic Underground for several years during Bush’s second term, when there was much commiseration for the plight of gay Americans, and assurances from the straight members that all would be made well once a Democrat took the White House back.

        Then along came Obama, with his fundraising with Donnie McClurkin and his inaugural prayer with Rick Warren. And we were told “It’s only a song!” and “It’s only a prayer!” And then Obama got to work, and his Justice department defended both DOMA and DADT in federal court with a vigor that put the Bush administration to shame, and Obama expended no political capital whatsoever to advance ENDA or any other meaningful pro-LGBT legislation. And we got louder and louder, complaining about the bill of goods we were sold, and eventually, we made the straight people so mad that they purged a majority of the gay members from the site. Because we wouldn’t take Obama’s contempt for us with good grace. These people were DEMOCRATS.

        The Democrats have always, ALWAYS been happy to throw us under the bus, until WE made it difficult for them to do so. They have ALWAYS relied on our money, holding the threat of a Republican administration over our heads, promising us change, telling us we matter, until they got into office, and slammed every door in our collective face. They have always relied on our votes, overbearingly smug in the knowledge that we had nowhere else to go, supremely confident that we would take all manner of shit being shoveled down our throats because THEY, at least, paid LIP SERVICE to the notion of equality.

        How any gay person who’s been alive for the last forty years could vote for anyone besides Bernie Sanders in this election is completely unfathomable to me.

        • I agree with this 100% btw. DADT was repealed and the DOJ finally stopped defending DOMA only because the LGBT community applied the pressure. As far as I could see, Obama tried to sabotage the DADT repeal by scheduling the yet-another-unnecessary study results for AFTER the 2010 election — and when the Dems were shellacked, they were pretty much going to drop DADT, ENDA and everything else, and blame the gays (wrongly) for the election loss.

          ActUP, OutServe and other LGBT groups deserve the credit for pushing the DADT repeal through the lame-duck Congress.

          It wasn’t until the LGBT activists made it clear that ‘under the bus’ was no longer acceptable the Democrats finally started paying attention to the promises they’d been making for decades.

          But the thing I hold most against BIll Clinton — and now against Hillary — was their repeated attempts to make it seem like DADT and DOMA (and dropping ENDA) were somehow wins for LGBT Americans, when they really were nothing but betrayals.

          • Toasterlad

            RIGHT.

    • billbear1961

      “And then there were the extortionistic rapes of women, who’d be accused of being lesbians if they turned away unwanted sexual advances.”

      One of the greatest evils that flourished under DADT.

      And, as we know, rape is STILL a BIG problem in the military.

      Rapists are often let off for “lack of proof” by investigators who don’t give a damn about what happened.

      It’s assumed the woman “consented” if the man admits–or can’t deny–there was sex.

      If the man is married, the woman who accused him of rape is discharged for “lying” AND for “encouraging the man to commit adultery.”

      NOTHING is done to discipline the man–the adulterer–for what is labelled a “consensual adulterous encounter.”

      Only the woman is punished.

      I saw this in a PBS documentary sometime in the last year or so.

      In a particular case I’m thinking of, the woman was a married heterosexual who was raped by one the officers in her unit.

      Congress–the Senate, in particular–knows all about these crimes, but is reluctant, despite the efforts of senators like Gillibrand of NY, to “interfere” with the military’s “handling” of the cases.

      The military keeps promising to do something to prevent these crimes and punish assailants, but doesn’t in a systematic and reliable way. FEW rapists go to prison and are discharged. It is the victims who are punished. FIRST they are raped, and THEN they are horribly abused by the military authorities who SHOULD be HELPING them.

      These sadistic crimes and the ABUSE the victims suffer a SECOND time, at the hands of the authorities who SHOULD be DOING something to DEAL with these crimes, truly DAMAGE one’s faith in the military and in the society that lets these crimes–this insidious DEPRAVITY–continue.

      I’ll never forget the gross INJUSTICE–the scale of the sheer EVIL–I witnessed in that documentary.

  • Frank

    Anybody but Hillary.

    • Silver_Witch

      Any one being Bernie!!!

      • Frank

        Yes all democrats should vote for Bernie! Feel the Bern!

        • Silver_Witch

          I am contributing RIGHT NOW to the burn – everytime I see a video of Hillary Clinton defending Bill Clinton’s bad acts on Joe My God I send money.

          • Steven Leahy

            I have donated to him twice now, cannot bring myself to give one cent to her. And if I get one more email from her husband Bill on her behalf, starting with “Dear Friend”….!

          • Silver_Witch

            Exactly the same here – and I am not donating to any Dem groups unless they point blank say they are not using my money to support Hillary.

  • it takes a willfully ignorant mind to ignore what Clinton is saying here.

    that said, this was passed in the USA a year after Canada allowed its gay citizens to serve openly. a move enabled by Kim Campbell, our first female PM, who led the then-Progressive Conservative party.

  • Gerry Fisher

    On the one hand, what you’re saying is absolutely true. (Her statement about DADT lines up exactly with the more detailed account I just read in “Frank,” by Barney Frank.)

    On the other hand, 1) It’s taken you both the better part of 20 years to talk this frankly with us, and 2) During that time, you both have done some duplicitous things such as running “Vote for me; I signed DOMA” ads in the south during the ’96 campaign, signing the bill at midnight to avoid exposure to what Bill was doing, and being weak on marriage equality as a Senator during the 2000s.

    Take a page out of Obama’s rhetorical playbook. He has a graceful, clear, realistic way of communicating, “This stinks, AND this is the best that the current political climate will offer us. We’ll work for more later.” (I didn’t do justice to his communication style, but you get my point.)

    It’s the *avoidance* thing that really hurts…all that while simultaneously claiming to be such awesome allies. Our allies don’t shrink from us, especially when we’ve just taken a hit and you played a part in that hit.

    • Tempus Fuggit

      Oh, c’mon. It must be true; you read it in a book? Two people say more or less the same thing, therefore it’s true? I don’t agree with that kind of reasoning.

    • Toasterlad

      You had me with your Clinton truth-telling, then you lost me with your Obama sugar-coating.

      Obama was never any friendlier to the LGBT community than Clinton (either one) was. His support didn’t materialize until public opinion had shifted over 50% toward equality, and even then not til after Joe Biden publicly shamed him into saying what a decent human being would say.

      The Clintons and Obama are, above all else, politicians. They will say and do whatever is politcally expedient, especially as regards minority voters.

      • Ninja0980

        Biden voted for DOMA too so it’s not like his hands are clean in this either.

        • Toasterlad

          Absolutely not. He did mitigate his vote somewhat by shaming Obama into saying that gay people deserved equality, however.

          • Ninja0980

            Too bad that can’t mitigate the damage of DOMA, something he would NOT have lost his seat over if he had voted no.

          • Toasterlad

            Agreed. Not saying he’s a gay-rights hero, just saying he’s better than Clinton or Obama. At least he “evolved” faster.

      • Julien Pierre

        Well, at least we do know that Obama was for marriage equality in his youth, before he was against it as a Presidential candidate in 2008, and for it as a Presidential candidate in 2012.

        We don’t know what Clinton ever thought was right about SSM, and probably will never know. And it doesn’t matter what their true beliefs were. Their actions spoke louder than their words. That goes for both the Clinton’s and Obama.

  • Tempus Fuggit

    “Oh, yes, oh, delicious, oh, feed me some more of this marvelous stuff!” The wide-eyed gullibility in this thread is pathetic. If it’s so hard to remember the mid-1990s, maybe take a time trip just two years back and see if that refreshes your recall.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Politicians lie, especially politicians named Clinton.

    I know LGBT Democrats are embarrassed by it but why are Democrats (and now even a few Republicans) so shy about the long history of bigotry in their party. Why do they lie about it.

    Bill Clinton did promise to sign DOMA and supported it’s passage. He championed it. “Months earlier, May 23, 1996, Clinton made his first comments on DOMA, jumbling the specific effect of the bill but echoing comments from his press secretary that he would sign it. On July 11, 1996, the administration issued a Statement of Administration Policy: ”The President … has long opposed same sex marriage. Therefore, if H.R. 3396 were presented to the President as ordered reported from the House Judiciary Committee, the President would sign the legislation.” http://www.metroweekly.com/2011/09/becoming-law/

    The Federal Marriage Amendment was not on the table at the time. “In 1996, I was President of the Human Rights Campaign, and there was no real threat of a Federal Marriage Amendment.” Elizabeth Birch, former head of HRC in AmericaBlog 03 12 2013 The Federal Marriage Amendment was written by Robert Bork and first introduced in the 107th United States Congress in the House of Representatives on May 15, 2002 by another Democrat, Ronnie Shows (D-Miss.). from Wiki

    Clinton signed DOMA because he’s a pandering bigot. He gloated about it in his campaign ads. “One reason the Rick Warren thing is a big deal is because, after Bill Clinton, the gay community is unusually sensitive to getting the shorter angle of presidential triangulation. It is hard to overstate the optimism and excitement that gays and lesbians felt in 1992. But the optimism deflated spectacularly after “Don’t Ask, Don’t tell” and the Defense of Marriage Act, not to mention President Clinton’s sneaky 1996 ad boasting about DOMA, which aired only on Christian radio. Clinton was willing to say the word “gay” in public and appear in black tie at the Human Rights Campaign dinner, but, in the eyes of the gay political community, his commitment to gay rights vanished. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-4675355-503544.html

  • Silver_Witch

    Liar, liar pants on fire. “That went too far”. Really – you think too far?

  • Steven Leahy

    I’ll buy what she said on DADT but she’s full of shit on DOMA. I did not see any evidence whatsoever that BC had any honorable forward-thinking intent in pushing DOMA.

    • Circ09

      I would have an easier time with this revisionist history of DOMA if I didn’t remember Bill Clinton campaigning on his full support throughout the South.

      LGBTIQ are never going to be more than a special interest group to people like them.

      • Ninja0980

        What happened here in NY in 09 will always leave a bitter taste in my mouth.
        What happened here in NY in 09 will always leave a bitter taste in my mouth.

  • The Professor

    I only buy this halfway. Problem is Billy Boy wanted to seem like an ally and also keep the bigot vote in his re election campaign, particularly in the south. So he ran ads touting his “defense of traditional marriage” in all those markets. He is a completely political creature, just like his wife. That’s why I’ll take their change of heart and support gladly, but not this new fabrication of their motives.

  • coram nobis

    DADT and DOMA were “defensive actions” in the same sense that the retreat from Caporetto was a defensive action for the leadership, but not much fun for the grunts caught in it.

    • JCF

      But maybe retreat from Dunkirk is the better example?

  • Ninja0980

    Hate to say it but she is right.
    Look at how large of a margin DOMA passed by and how easily the gay marriage bans passed.
    I don’t think it would have been that hard back in the early 90’s to get a ban passed.

    • Bill_Perdue

      Bill Clinton supported and championed DOMA because he’s a bigot. http://www-cgi.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1996/analysis/time/9611/23/kramer/

      By the
      time Clinton arrived in Chicago for his party’s convention in August, nothing
      that hinted at liberalism was left hanging on him. When the President, who had begun
      his term advocating the rights of gays in the military, came around to
      supporting the Defense of Marriage Act, which barred federal recognition for
      gay and lesbian unions, Dole was wide-eyed. “Is there anything we’re for that
      he won’t jump on?” Dole asked. The answer, essentially, was nothing…

  • BobSF_94117

    I’m stunned at the lying going on here. Clinton’s campaign included a few radio ads in a couple red states which dishonestly portrayed him as supporting DOMA in ad markets where there were enough stupid Southerners who would believe it and vote for him.

    Not all across the South. And even if he had lied to a broad swath of the country to get elected, would you have preferred he lose?

    • Toasterlad

      So…your argument is that Clinton didn’t REALLY support DOMA, he just ran ads saying he did to get bigots to vote for him?

      And this is a PRO-Clinton argument?

      • BobSF_94117

        My argument is that an office of his campaign — you’re a fool if you think media decisions are made by the candidate — ran a pro-DOMA ad in a radio market in the South purposely “highlighting” his acceptance of DOMA (over a constitutional amendment that would have killed us for a century) as though it was his idea to stick it to the gays.

        Was it dishonest? Sure. And he was the very first pol to ever tell a fib to win a vote…

        • Toasterlad

          “Everybody does it” didn’t work as an excuse in grade school, so I’m flabbergasted as to why you think it should apply to the highest office in the land.

          Here are the facts: DOMA was a deeply homophobic piece of shit legislation that Clinton not only signed into law, but campaigned on having signed into law. You can spin it all you like. It is his turd, and it will always be his turd, no matter how much you polish it.

          • BobSF_94117

            The turd was produced by the GOP. I guess you think they crafted for him on his instructions.

            Which is just plain stupid.

          • Toasterlad

            Oh, did the GOP sign it into law? I missed that part when they were explaining how government works in third grade.

  • Jim

    What a pack of lies! Clinton embraced both DADT and DOMA because they were politically useful to him. He had no problem whatsoever throwing us gays under the bus. And he advised Obama to do the same in 2008 (and Obama took his advice and threw us under the bus again). This ceaseless lying will be a hallmark of the Clinton Presidency 2.0 with Hillary just as it was in the Clinton Presidency 1.0 with Bill. And gays are still falling all over themselves in their rush to support Hillary. Incredible.

  • mikekil

    Im 52 now and I think it’s hard for younger people to look back with 20/20 hindsight on this one. I think she’s probably right about the possibility of an amendment. I’ve never seen such a drastic change in public opinion so quickly on any issue in my life! I don’t know if younger people will ever know the terror of being so universally despised like that or how it remains with those of us who remember now.

  • MSH

    Is she her husband’s keeper? The whole issue is irrelevant if she as running as HRC as herself.

    • Toasterlad

      Not if she’s taking credit for helping to make policy, as she did.

  • Terry

    I agree. Also while it was supposed to be somewhat of an improvement, people were overzealous in its execution of the policy

    Let’s also consider the climate of the time. Clinton faced a lot of opposition from Democrats especially Democratic leadership at the time. Both of them passed with large majorities and it would’ve been political suicide to veto them

  • Toasterlad

    Wow. People are STILL buying this bullshit that there was a danger of a constitutional amendment against marriage?

    I suggest you do a little research into how hard it is to change the constitution. It might help you recognize cowardice being disguised as nobility.

    • Kelly Lape

      It’s not an issue of what would pass, it’s an issue of what would get out voters as proven in 2004 when Bush the Pretender motivated haters to the polls.

      • Toasterlad

        And DOMA stopped that how?

    • Randy Left Brooklyn

      I suggest you do a little research and see how willing people were in those days to do all kinds of things to us. Look at the number of states that passed their own state amendments, and the lopsided congressional votes in favor of DOMA, and you can see it was a very real possibility.

      And there were many in the gay community who viewed it as such at the time.

      • Toasterlad

        I lived during those those days, thanks, and, not being blinded by revisionist history, I remember exactly how ill-formed and isolated the Constitutional Amendment “movement” was. It didn’t gain any traction at all til after DOMA was a done deal, when Bush was firing up the bigots for his presidential run. And after he won? No action on it, whatsoever. He barely mentioned it, in fact, until it was time to run again. Curious that at the very height of anti-gay hysteria in this country, no one could get anything going on amending the Constitution. You’d think, with so much animosity toward gay people, it would be simple to get 38 states to sign on to that.

        Or maybe amending the Constitution is actually a fuck of a lot harder than we’re currently pretending it is?

  • WarrenHart

    She’s correct. I remember that era very clearly. There was a huge anti-gay backlash reaction to Bill Clintons election. Bill and Hillary Clinton are no our enemy jeez. Presidents aren’t dictators who can do whatever the hell they want.

    • Tempus Fuggit

      That’s very nice, dear. Run along, now; the grownups are talking.

  • Mike P

    So many good comments here. All I would like to add is that at the time of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, what really occurred was a soft coup d’etat. Bill Clinton put forward a motion to allow gays to serve openly in the military and the push-back was so hard and so immediate he didn’t have the backbone to push back. Part of it was he did this so early in his term. Many gays were upset that he took up this issue before launching a major effort to combat AIDS(HIV).

    The DOMA vote was a betrayal in a big way. Some of the most dependably liberal senators voted for it, including many who were in safe seats who did not have to…including three who were rumored to be gay, Hatfield, Mikulski and Herb Kohl. Added to them were Joe Lieberman, Chris Dodd, Paul Wellstone (!), Patty Murray and Joe Biden. Al D’Amato, HRC’s favorite Republican also voted for it.

    The gains made in the past decades were hard battles, but I worry for the future. Democrats at the local level are floundering. They control few statehouse chambers outside California and the Northeast. They’re practically non-existent in the South, except as a black party, and are fading in the Midwest.

    What the DOMA vote etched into my mind is that our “friends” can turn on a dime when it suits them. It worries me that everything gained in the past ten or twenty years can disappear in weeks if the wrong group of people control all the levers.

    • Ninja0980

      Democrats are indeed fading in the Midwest and the Southwest as well.
      In Nevada Democrats got wiped out last fall and they took blows in Nevada and New Mexico as well.

  • Ninja0980

    I wish RBG and Breyer were 15-20 years younger but they’re not.
    They along with many of the circuit and district court judges Bill Clinton put on the bench are now in their 60’s and 70’s or older and there is a good chance the next president is going to be able to not only 3-4 SCOTUS judges but numerous Circuit and District court judges as well.
    Obama was able to undo some of the damage to the courts that the Republicans did to it but it won’t take much for that to be undone.
    If Clinton becomes the nominee, many of us will have to grit out teeth and vote for her.
    Sucks it has to be that way but unless you want to see what happened with Thurgood Marshall being replaced by the hard right asshole Clarence Thomas, you’ll pull the lever for her.
    Wish it didn’t have to be that way but it is.

    • coram nobis

      That’s the main point in the long term, the court appointments at the Supreme Court, circuit and district levels. Let’s keep that thought in the short term of a Hillary presidency, if she signs a repeal of Sarbanes-Oxley or Dodd-Frank, or orders drone strikes within U.S. territory, or invades Iran or Mexico. Keep your fingers crossed.

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  • coram nobis
  • Whitey’s Conspiracy

    I can only speak to the Marine Corps where I served, but there was an unofficial dadt there before Clinton that was a lot more friendly than the witch hunts of the 90s. It didn’t always hold; I saw virulent homophobes, in retrospect clearly closet cases, in positions of power who conducted personal witch hunts, but if you were a good Marine, did your job, didn’t cause trouble, had the respect of your peers, and didn’t make it impossible to ignore, there was little traction for such efforts. DADT changed that, flipped it on its head, made follow up inquiries mandatory. From 81-92 I saw exactly 3 guys discharged for being gay; 2 of them troops caught together, the other 1 a SNCO sexually harassing a troop who went to the Chaplain for advice. In 93 alone I saw that many under the new policy; all of them the result of investigations of rumors. DADT was the opposite of an improvement.

    • Christopher Smith

      Had it been what it was SUPPOSED to be: don’t ask, don’t tell, DON’T PURSUE….it would have been something of an improvement. I had a couple of sailor boyfriends, including a SEAL, and I remember well how viciously fascist the NIS was well before DADT. The squids I knew were, to a man, terrified of their witchhunts. Ever read ‘Code of Conduct’? It’s rather entertaining….

      • Whitey’s Conspiracy

        The Navy was always a lot more into witch hunts for witch hunts sake; they have no loyalty to each other either. Loyalty is the highest value in the Marine Corps. It’s our motto. Almost every Marine regularly breaks some rule or other, fighting, drugs, adultery, UA, you cover for each other; they teach you that in boot camp; no one can make it alone. You even protect people you don’t particularly like for doing things that you disagree with if you are in the same company. No one respects a snitch, no one protects them, they’re alone. You’ve never seen alone like that; alone in the boonies or on a ship with a hundred guys who won’t even acknowledge your existence; who don’t care if you live or die.

        • Christopher Smith

          You know, the SEAL said some of that in bed. Although obviously it’s evil to condone murder, assault, rape, etc, I agree about loyalty. fighting, drugs, sex, UA, all those things SHOULD be covered for by your compatriots. WIthout loyalty, you have nothing in any relationship.

          • Whitey’s Conspiracy

            SEALs aren’t squids; they’re Marines in everything but name. The more you come after a good Marine for something irrelevant to being a good Marine the less anybody knows or says. We had a kid on the rock (Okinawa) who got drunk & let a Japanese guy suck his dick in a sex club (The Stage in Naha, where the audience is the show) Half of his platoon was there, & of course it was the talk of the base. The 1st Sgt couldn’t get anyone to admit that they were there & saw it, and NIS couldn’t even get anyone to admit they’d heard about it. He had 4-5 months left when it happened & they never burned him. If he’d been a shithead, a thief or a snitch? He’d have been discharged in 2 weeks, but he was a good Marine & 20 year old guys with no comfort level at all about gay people covered for him because that’s just what you do.

          • Christopher Smith

            There’s a bone of contention…..of course, the Navy claims SEALS, wink.
            I am very amused by the story you told……funny how nobody seemed to have been there, huh? GRIN
            by the way, if you’d like to talk further and get acquainted, I’d like that–

  • AnotherPoster

    And there wasn’t any rational argument – because I was in on some of those discussions, on both ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ and on DOMA, where both the president, his advisers and occasionally I would – you know, chime in and talk about, ‘you can’t be serious. You can’t be serious.’ But they were.

    Mary mother of God. Is there nothing this woman won’t try and take some credit for in order to pander to the gay community? DOMA was the single piece of law that set back same sex marriage rights for two plus decades until the courts declared part of it unconstitutional and DADT allowed gay people to serve in the military as long as they shut the fuck up and didn’t tell anyone they were gay or acted gay or in any way or even hinted that you might be gay. And Hillary wants to take credit for that?!??! Amazing just amazing. I’d be laughing if it wasn’t such a fucking lame and pathetic attempt to rewrite the past and try and portray yourself as the savior of the gays.

    Hillary, you did fuck all nothing to support the gays in the past. Get over yourself.

    • Randy Left Brooklyn

      Marriage equality wasn’t going to happen in 1994. If you recall, SCOTUS didn’t rule sodomy laws between consenting adults illegal until 2003 with Lawrence v. Texas. They ruled sodomy laws were legal in 1986 with Bowers v. Hardwick.

      • AnotherPoster

        Baehr v. Miike (originally Baehr v. Lewin) was a lawsuit in which three same-sex couples argued that Hawaii’s prohibition of same-sex marriage violated the state constitution. Initiated in 1990, as the case moved through the state courts, the passage of an amendment to the state constitution in 1998 led to the dismissal of the case in 1999. Congressional Republicans used the possibility that the courts might invalidate Hawaii’s marriage eligibility requirements, as appeared possible following the Supreme Court of Hawaii’s 1993 decision in this case, as an excuse for the enactment of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996. Dozens of statutes and constitutional amendments banning same-sex unions at the state level also followed Baehr. (1)

        In Baehr v. Miike (1993), the Supreme Court of Hawaii ruled that the state must show a compelling interest in prohibiting same-sex marriage. This finding prompted concern among opponents of same-sex marriage, who feared that same-sex marriage might become legal in Hawaii and that other states would recognize or be compelled to recognize those marriages under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution. The House Judiciary Committee’s 1996 Report called for DOMA as a response to Baehr, because “a redefinition of marriage in Hawaii to include homosexual couples could make such couples eligible for a whole range of federal rights and benefits”. (2)

        DOMA was simply the knee jerk reaction from Congress when it became apparent that Hawaii’s courts might invalidate Hawaii’s laws prohibiting the recognition of same sex marriages which would force Hawaii to recognize same sex marriages as legal and valid which in turn would force the other states to recognize same sex marriages under the Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution.

        And if the state of Hawaii, among many others, hadn’t passed state constitutional amendments we could have had legal recognition that same sex marriages were valid as far back as that case.

        Sodomy laws had nothing to do with the recognition of same sex marriage but thanks for playing the straw man game.

        Sources:

        (1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baehr_v._Miike

        (2) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defense_of_Marriage_Act

        • Randy Left Brooklyn

          There were definitely the votes to amend the constitution, as shown by the Senate’s passage of DOMA by 85 to 14. The public was not with us on that issue in the 90’s.

          • AnotherPoster

            And you seem to forget that the Congress can pass any amount of amendments to the United States Constitution they wish. But unless the proposed amendment is ratified by 3/4th of the legislatures of the several states (38) it’s a meaningless gesture. And that’s no sure thing.

        • coram nobis

          That’s interesting, although I’m not aware of any major marriage ruling that ruled fully on Art. IV federalism questions (Full Faith & Credit, Privileges & Immunities). Obergefell was a 14th Am. case; Windsor a 5th Am. (due process) case. It would have been an interesting ruling but probably moot, given the other issues. Loving v. Virginia (interracial marriage) could have gone that way too, but went 14th Am. as well.

          • AnotherPoster

            On October 1, 1991, the trial court dismissed the suit. The Court did find however that under the state’s equal protection clause, denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples constituted discrimination based on sex that required justification by the state that the state needed to justify under the standard known as strict scrutiny. On May 5, 1993 (with clarification issued on May 27), the Supreme Court remanded the case to the trial court to determine if the state could meet that standard by demonstrating that denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples “furthers compelling state interests and is narrowly drawn to avoid unnecessary abridgments of constitutional rights.”(1)

            This case was remanded back to the lower court after they dismissed it by the Hawaiian Supreme Court on the grounds that it constituted discrimination based upon sex and violated the state’s equal protection clause. And that’s the case that was going to trial that precipitated the passage of DOMA that received Billy Clinton’s signature. it was purely a state case and never rose into the realm of federal litigation as Loving, Obergefell or Windsor did.

            DOMA was never about a “federal marriage amendment” as Hillary claims. It was simply the knee-jerk reaction from the conservative Congress of the time that was wetting its pants over the fact that if the plaintiffs in Baehr v. Miiike actually succeeded and won their case at the state level it would force all the other states to recognize same sex marriage under the operation of Article IV § 1: Full Faith and Credit clause.

            And little Billy Clinton, the staunch anti-same sex marriage proponent went merrily along with it and signed DOMA into law thus setting back equal rights for gays for two decades until the courts overturned the illegal redefinition of marriage.

            Source:
            (1)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baehr_v._Miike

  • Hey people, was it Hillary or Bill who was President? It was Bill Clinton, and Hillary had to keep her mouth shut in public as his wife — even though some of her positions on national health care (her plan was shot down big time by Congress) and women’s rights (I speak of the Conference in Beijing in 1995) were considered far left at the time. Remember that Bill Clinton was elected President twice as a center – right Democrat (for the time) – carrying states in 1996 like Louisiana, Missouri, Arizona, Kentucky, and West Virginia that are considered deep-red now. He even carried Georgia and Montana in 1992! Sure, Hillary provided advice, and sure, Hillary comes from a Goldwater Republican background. But what would happen if Bill Clinton were not elected President and a Republican was? We would NOT have Ginsberg and Breyer on SCOTUS — and would have ended up with a far different landscape for LGBT rights. I don’t think we should hold Bernie’s position on guns against him either — there is no way any elected Congressman or Senator from Vermont 20 years ago could oppose the NRA and win. People grow and change, and like it or not, whore themselves to be elected at times to get elected. And its going to stay this way until we keep big business money out of politics.

    • Julien Pierre

      Indeed, which makes it all the more perplexing why she is lying for him. It’s his record, not hers.

      • Overall, Bill Clinton is still a popular ex-President. particularly among independents. From March 2015 Washington Post– Bill Clinton is almost certainly the most popular person in American politics. A new NBC-Wall Street Journal poll showed that 56 percent of people have a positive view of the former president while just 26 percent hold a negative one. That makes him more popular than George W. Bush (35/39) and President Obama (44/43).

        • Julien Pierre

          Agreed.

          But that does not excuse him or his wife from rewriting the history of DOMA.

          • Yeah but does she have a choice? If she comes out directly against her husband, that will be lead her open to attack for not being faithful to him. HE is the one who needs to come clean on this — but I think Hillary is screwed any position she takes on this one.

          • Julien Pierre

            I believe that she had a choice.

            Hillary does not have to run on every aspect of Bill’s record.

            Rachel Maddow certainly left the door open in her question, asking Hillary if she would take “a different approach” than her husband on these issues.

            I agree that he is the one who needs to come clean on DOMA and selling out his LGBT constituents at the time for political expediency.

          • That is a good point. She really does not have to run on all of her husband’s record — perhaps she should not be defending it so fast.

  • kladinvt

    The “ever shifting sands” of Hillary.

  • Julien Pierre

    To anyone who thinks DOMA actually was a “Defensive action” to prevent a federal constitutional amendment against marriage in 1996, please read the following, which are about the first time this lie was told, by former President Bill Clinton, two years ago.

    Statement from Elizabeth Birch, President of HRC
    http://americablog.com/2013/03/president-clinton-wrong-history-doma.html
    “The fact is that the true threat of a Federal Marriage Amendment did not arise until 2004.”

    Statement from David Mixner, gay activist.
    http://www.davidmixner.com/2013/03/bill-clinton-doma-and-history.html
    “Clinton today says he signed it to prevent a Constitutional Amendment from passing. The problem with that argument is that such an amendment wasn’t really even being considered in a serious way. Not until Karl Rove got a hold of the idea after 2000 did the amendment concept have any legs at all. It just wasn’t a serious political factor at all in 1996. ”

    Article about this take, including a statement from Evan Wolfson, founder of “Freedom to Marry” :
    http://blog.sfgate.com/politics/2013/03/19/clinton-on-doma-rewriting-history/
    “In 1996, “there was no serious prospect that Congress was going to enact a discriminatory constitutional amendment for the first time ever,” said Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry. “That threat was not even significantly talked about.””

  • Terry

    Just admit that it was politically expedient to pass the law and your husband was in a pickle. They all knew it was homophobic and gay rights hadn’t hit critical mass yet–Hilary will say ANYTHING to get elected…just like Romney