Friday, October 9, 2009

Former DOMA supporters now support repeal

As reported in the Advocate:
The man who singed the bill into law, President Bill Clinton, and the man who authored the legislation, Bob Barr, along with seven representatives who voted to pass it in 1996, now support the law’s repeal

“When the Defense of Marriage Act was passed, gay couples could not marry anywhere in the United States or the world for that matter,” Clinton said in a statement. “Thirteen years later, the fabric of our country has changed, and so should this policy.”

Barr, who was a member of the House at the time, joined Clinton, saying, “This legislation would strengthen the principle that each state is free to set the definition of marriage the citizens of that state have adopted.”
DOMA supporter Rep. Earl Blumenauer from Oregon writes in the HuffPO
Having given it much thought, I was convinced that by voting for this one federal statute against the recognition of same-sex marriage, it would somehow take the steam out of the Newt Gingrich-Tom Delay Congress, which was using the homophobic right-wing agenda to mobilize their base at the expense of millions of gay, lesbian, transgendered, and bisexual Americans. My hope was to simply move on and get to more pressing business at hand, including smaller steps for equality based on sexual orientation, like legislation against employment discrimination.

Since I was an outspoken supporter of anti-discrimination, I assumed that my calculations would be understood by my friends in the community and that we would lay this obnoxious political vendetta to rest. Wrong on all counts.

It should have been obvious to me that we would not be able to quell this assault based on sexual orientation. Far from stopping it, this vote fed the bigotry. Once Congress had put its imprimatur on DOMA, it was a logical step for the homophobes and political cynics to intensify their efforts and make permanent a ban on gay marriage in both the U.S. and state constitutions -- spawning many state initiatives and intensifying the assault.
I long ago recognized and acknowledged the mistake I made, and I have spent time understanding the problems in my thinking and analysis. It has resulted in frank and important conversations with many gay and lesbian friends, and if anything it has strengthened my commitment to the cause of banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and has made me a better lawmaker.

I will work to make sure that my colleagues who once, for whatever reason, joined me in supporting this ill-advised measure take this opportunity to correct their record and eliminate an injustice.
And former president Bill Clinton says,
"I think if people want to make commitments that last a lifetime, they ought to be able to do it," Clinton said, in his most extensive and affirmative statements to date on the subject. Clinton had previously said his views on the matter were "evolving" and later added that he was "basically in support" of marriage equality.

Clinton said during the interview that he realized he was "hung up about the word" marriage.

"I was wrong about that," he said. "I just had too many gay friends. I saw their relationships. I just decided I couldn’t, I had an untenable position."

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