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March 08, 2013

Bill Clinton: It’s time to overturn DOMA

Posted in: DOMA,LGBT,marriage equality

Considering Big Dog was the guy who signed the horror known as the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) into law, seeing this turn of events is welcome, it still leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. But it’s a different world than it was 17 years ago and there was almost zero political courage to stand up for the civil right of gays and lesbians to marry. Clinton, along with a lot of pols across the political spectrum, have finally seen the light on marriage equality to come out of the closet on the issue. From his op-ed in the WaPo:

 ”When I signed the bill, I included a statement with the admonition that “enactment of this legislation should not, despite the fierce and at times divisive rhetoric surrounding it, be understood to provide an excuse for discrimination.” Reading those words today, I know now that, even worse than providing an excuse for discrimination, the law is itself discriminatory. It should be overturned.

We are still a young country, and many of our landmark civil rights decisions are fresh enough that the voices of their champions still echo, even as the world that preceded them becomes less and less familiar. We have yet to celebrate the centennial of the 19th Amendment, but a society that denied women the vote would seem to us now not unusual or old-fashioned but alien. I believe that in 2013 DOMA and opposition to marriage equality are vestiges of just such an unfamiliar society.

Americans have been at this sort of a crossroads often enough to recognize the right path. We understand that, while our laws may at times lag behind our best natures, in the end they catch up to our core values. One hundred fifty years ago, in the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln concluded a message to Congress by posing the very question we face today: “It is not ‘Can any of us imagine better?’ but ‘Can we all do better?’?”

The answer is of course and always yes. In that spirit, I join with the Obama administration, the petitioner Edith Windsor, and the many other dedicated men and women who have engaged in this struggle for decades in urging the Supreme Court to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act.”

Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin:

“A growing chorus has risen up in opposition to DOMA but the loudest voice is now the man who signed the bill into law calling for it to be overturned.  President Clinton has already voiced his opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act and his emphatic repudiation of this discriminatory law is a reflection of the views of a majority of Americans who don’t understand why loving and committed couples should be ignored by their own government.  As President Clinton eloquently articulated, DOMA is a vestige of another time and now we must turn our back on legally sanctioned discrimination.”

 


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