Terrance Heath

Gee. Thanks, Bill.

Filed By Terrance Heath | July 18, 2009 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, The Movement
Tags: Bill Clinton

For ... well ... nothing. On the one hand, it's great to hear that Bill Clinton backs same-sex marriage.

2009 Campus Progress National Conference in Washington

After speaking at the Campus Progress National Conference in
Washington, DC, on July 8, the former president was asked if he
supported same-sex marriage. Clinton, in a departure from past
statements, replied in the affirmative.

Clinton opposed same-sex marriage during his presidency, and in
1996, he signed the Defense of Marriage Act, which limited federal
recognition of marriage to one man and one woman. In May of this year,
Clinton told a crowd at Toronto's Convention Centre that his position
on same-sex marriage was "evolving."

Apparently, Clinton's thinking has now further evolved. Asked if he
would commit his support for same-sex marriage, Clinton responded, "I'm
basically in support."

...Asked if he personally supported same-sex marriage, Clinton
replied, "Yeah." "I personally support people doing what they want to
do," Clinton said. "I think it's wrong for someone to stop someone else
from doing that [same-sex marriage]."

On the other hand...

There was a time when hearing something like this from Bill might have made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Now, it's like hearing an ex-boyfriend admit he was wrong about something when it was glaringly obvious years ago.

And my response is about the same: Why couldn't you have said this when it might have, I dunno, mattered?

When it could have at least done some good? (And in the back of my mind I'd wonder, "What do you think you have to gain by telling me this now? What do you want?", especially if I'd been burned before with this guy.)

I can't get excited about this. At least not as excited as I might if it were an elected official with some ability to move policy in the direction of equality.

Much admiration either. It's easy to (finally) place yourself on the right side of history when (a) there's no political risk involved and (b) the scoreboard clearly indicates the likely outcome.

But coming from the guy who signed DOMA, which is now an obstacle we'll have to remove in order to get to equality, this does't get the same response it might have when I was madly in love with the guy.

I've grown up since then, and see things a bit more clearly now.

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I really find it remarkable that he has the nerve to weigh in on ANYONE'S marriage... he's imo the poster boy of "Het Marriage Gone Wild".

Great politician- great public speaker- complete mess as a husband.

A. J. Lopp | July 18, 2009 5:03 PM

Terrance, you're an intelligent guy and I would discourage you from fantasizing about re-writing history along the lines of "what might have been".

The truth is that, even though he signed it, DOMA can't be blamed primarily on Bill Clinton. It needs to be blamed, first and foremost, on an American public that was terrified at the notion of homosexuality getting any form of accepted legal status.

Furthermore, DOMA was a substitute for FMA, and DOMA has allowed us to prevent FMA from having any really serious steam. Someday, the LGBT movement will look back on DOMA as a blessing in disguise. But at the moment, we despise it, and I don't criticize anyone for doing so.

As for Bill, he deserves praise for being intellectually active enough to allow for his own "evolution" --- many people, including many politicians, are not so open to intellectual growth.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | July 18, 2009 7:49 PM

The absurd notions that Bill Clinton had no choice but to sign DOMA and DADT that he was doing us some kind of favor signing them are not supported by any facts at all.

Bill Clinton signed DOMA for one reason only, and that was to insure his reelection. It was not so much a fact that the overwhelming majority of voters at the time were opposed to same sex marriage as that they opposed it because bigots like Bill Clinton, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and Bob Dole championed the bigotry of DOMA.

The Congress was equally gutless and got on the DOMA bandwagon, as most Democrats and Republicans including Biden of Delaware, which was to be expected, and someone who should have known better, Mikulski of Maryland.

Clinton rushed to sign it within hours of it’s passage so he could immediately begin running these ads on cracker radio stations like those run by Pat Robertson.

"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"

The Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) was introduced in the 107th United States Congress in the House by Democratic (what'd you expect) Representative Ronnie Shows (D-MS) in 2002, six years after Clintons stab in the back. It had noting to do with DOMA and is not in any way a justification for it. DOMA was not a favor it was bigotry.

Clinton is a typical Democratic Party hustler. Like Obama he was a rightist who ran as a force for change and only came out as a rightist after being elected. But once elected he went to town. He signed DADT and sentenced LGBT service members to harassment, violence and unfair treatment. Two of them (that we know about) were murdered because he signed DADT.

He championed the union busting anti-worker, anti-environment NAFTA. After being reelected he got much worse, organizing the embargo of medical sanitary and food supplies that according to UN and international food relief agencies killed roughly half a million children and babies. His Secretary of State Madeline Albright said “we think the price is worth it". That was followed by the jewel in the crown of Clintons criminality, his support for deregulation.

If this recession becomes a depression it’ll be called Clinton’s New Folly.

A. J. Lopp | July 18, 2009 10:39 PM

I suspected that statement would put someone into orbit, but so be it. It's not like I favor DOMA --- I most certainly don't --- but if someone is going to slap me in the face, or shoot me in the head, I'll choose the slap in the face.

I never said, nor is it my argument, that Clinton had no choice but to sign DOMA --- obviously, he did. However, had he vetoed it, I feel that FMA would have been introduced sooner (there were years of talk about it, and as it was, it finally got introduced in reaction to the Lawrence ruling) and in those early years it would have had its best chance of passing in Congress. Who knows if it would have gotten ratified by the states, but in those earliest years I think it would have, again, had its best chances at success then. As the years pass, we can now see, the more likely it is that FMA will be toast.

It [FMA] had not[h]ing to do with DOMA and is not in any way a justification for it.

I don't see how anyone can say that these two bills have nothing to do with each other, since they obviously deal with the same issue. FMA was introduced because some people were afraid that a court would throw out DOMA, and because some other people felt that DOMA did not go far enough. Even so, the argument to the conservatives that "You don't need to pass FMA because DOMA is in place and not likely to be overturned," has served politicians on our side well and has, eventually, rendered FMA the non-issue that it is now.

And we are better off having to repeal DOMA than if we had to repeal a federal Constitutional amendment.

As for the other things you say, some of them I agree with, and some I don't --- and much of it is irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | July 18, 2009 11:32 PM

Then you said I don't see how anyone can say that these two bills have nothing to do with each other, since they obviously deal with the same issue. Obviously, but so what? That has nothing to do with your initial apologia for Clinton’s bigotry. You laid FM and DOMA side by side and implied that Clinton’s unconcealed bigotry was somehow justified.

It isn’t justified because the only relevant point is that FMA was introduced six years after DOMA, had no relevance to whether or not Clinton signed it, wasn’t used to twist his arm and had no bearing on the debate about DOMA. There is noevidence of that at all. None. There is plenty of commentary at the time indicating that Clinton was twisting Congresses arm to get DOMA passes so he could get those putrid ads on the air. There was nothing reluctant about his championing DOMA, the most seriously homohating bill to come down the pike in US history. Saying that Clinton did us a favor signing it into law and unleashing a firestorm of federally endorsed bigotry is a lot worse than just being wildly imaginative. It has no basis in fact or historic truth. FMA was never connected with the debate on DOMA.

During the 1996 campaign Time Magazine reported

""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..."

There are no excuses for Clinton’s bigotry. As for the rest of his history, the murder of children, deregulation, NAFTA, DAD - it’s not only relevant but it’s essential to understand the roles played by hustlers like Clinton, Bush and Obama. It shows how they repeatedly fool some of the people who promise what ever people want to hear. After the election they turn and expose themselves as enemies of working people, world peace and the LGBT communities. Everything that Clinton, Bush and Obama did (or are doing) proves that their campaigns were based on lying and that they had (have) no intention of ending the oil wars, corralling the gross greed of the looter class or advancing GLBT rights.

It’s all connected.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | July 19, 2009 12:14 AM

And at the time it was called "triangulation" with Clinton facing a Newt Gingrich House of Representatives and a very divided Senate. He took all their issues from them. It was a brilliant exercise in political self preservation, but a poor civics lesson. I am reminded that Bill Clinton was the first sitting president to address a Gay organization in Washington.

AJ's point holds because without DOMA in place we could have well been handed something much worse during Bush II. I too would rather be slapped than shot.

Why knock me over with a feather Comrade! Fiddle dee dee! You mean politicians are cowards and compromisers? Well who knew?

And politicians act in ways that keep them getting elected or they aren't politicians any more. Land o Goshen!, who would have thought of that? What an insight!

That is why so many valuable contributions are made by ex presidents when they cease being politicians and stop considering how to be reelected by a selfish public with a short attention span. I am in favor of evolution, and wish you the best as always.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | July 19, 2009 11:50 AM

Thanks for admitting what we’ve known for a long time – Bill Clinton is a worthless bigoted hustler. That's common knowledge, proven in detail. Perhaps that explains why so many Democrat loyalists are now willing to admit the truth about Clinton but it doesn't explain why they’re so fond of the same traits - bigotry, lies and broken promises – in Obama, Biden and Hillary Clinton.

I guess we’ll just have to wait 15 or 20 years for those admissions. And in the meantime hard line Democrat loyalists can defer judgment for at least the next four to eight years, which won’t stop the bigotry and sessions under the O-bus but at least it’ll provide a measure of 'denialbility' for those who bungled and voted for him.

By the way, do you still deny that Clinton’s responsible for the murder of half a million Iraqi children or that he’s co-responsible with the Republicans for deregulation and economic failure? And if not, would you care to give us an idea of when you’ll be willing to accept those political home truths.

Now a personal point, Ganshorn.

The term comrade is a greeting, an endearment reserved for those united in opposition to the depredations of the looter rich, which you represent, even if in a small way, and who are opposed to murderous wars of aggression like LBJ’s Vietnam, whom you defend, and who are opposed to hustlers and bigots like Clinton, McCain and Obama, whom you support politically.

I’ve happily exchanged greetings using that term with activists and fighters from, among others, the ANC and the Irish, Nicaraguan, Palestinian and Cuban independence movements. I’ve been called comrade by miners, auto workers and rail and steel workers in the US. I’ve called members of El Partido La Raza Unida here and the Partido Socialista de los Trabajadores in Mexico my comrade. It’s a term proudly used by determined men and women fighting to end war, economic exploitation and bigotry from Nelson Mandela down to the newest recruit to the young socialists.

You, however, have no right to use the term ‘comrade’, even when red-baiting. If you wish me the best stop using it

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | July 20, 2009 6:18 AM

My father had a fifty year union pin from the railroad union. I worked on the railroad as well to have money to put myself through college. So I shall not speak of myself here. Had you addressed my father "Comrade" you would have found yourself enshrined in the compartment next to that other great union man Jimmy Hoffa. Father worked in a munitions factory during WWII.

My godfather who spent forty-five years at the Gary Steel Works would have been less kind. My godfather (and uncle) was with Patton's army.

Comforting though to know that you count Sinn Fein among your comrades. Fronts for the IRA, Indiscriminate bombers of innocents? Tasteful.

Why don't you dispute "Dictionary.com" about the proper use of words.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | July 20, 2009 10:27 AM

"Indiscriminate bombers of innocents" could refer to the officer pilots of the USAF and USN who indiscriminatly bombed civilians in Vietnam, Lybia, Panama and other nations and who are currently doing the same in in Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan.

You know the type.

Or it could refer to English colonists in occupied northern Ireland. But it does not refer to Sinn Féin, a legal and growing political party in the Republic of Ireland and the second largest party in English occupied northern Ireland.

TYhanks for mentioning Sinn Féin: http://www.sinnfein.ie/

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | July 20, 2009 11:14 PM

Oh Bill, to equate two different flavors of "christians" with a 300 year old grudge (on a small island) to the complexities of the mess left the US in French Indochina and the politics of the cold war fear and "domino theory."

I comment because I will not allow you to warp younger minds with your "A must equal B" propaganda simplicity skewed toward a repeating argument of world perfection as a gift of socialism. Ask any citizen of Britain today how much they love their "socialized everything" and you will get some very convincing arguments that their system is quite broken.

And I do wish you well comrade. See definition one of that word. Because you see you and I are not enemies, but in our own way advocates for a better future coming from two perspectives. The world will hopefully meet at a sensible place in the middle. Meanwhile, I think I will revel in being a member of the "looter class" just a while longer. :)

Terrance, thought provoking post. No one man, no one president can accomplish everything. Politics, it is said, is the accomplishment of what you *can* get out of what you would *like* to get.

A. J. Lopp | July 19, 2009 2:24 PM

Sorry for nit-picking at you, but:

... DOMA, the most seriously homohating bill to come down the pike in US history.

Oh, Mr. Perdue, surely you jest! ... Or maybe you are guilty of unrestrained exaggeration!

DOMA might prevent a valid marriage in one state not to be recognized in another, and it might deny certain couple access to federal benefits --- but it does not place anyone in jail! Nor can it be said in any major way to have the potential to completely ruin a person's life!

You wouldn't regard sodomy laws to be more "seriously homohating" than that? Even considering that sodomy laws placed non-violent men (and women) into prisons for decades at a time? Even considering that in some states, the sodomy law applied only to smae-sex couples, and not to heterosexual couples, whether married or not? Even considering that sodomy laws defined us as criminals, and thus served as an immense barrier to our coming out and defending our own rights? Even considering that men (and women) were once routinely fired if they were convicted (or even just charged) under a sodomy law? Even considering that many were deported, sent back to an originating country, where the penalty for being known to be gay might even be execution? Even considering that countless thousands of men (and women) committed suicide under the pain that a sodomy law pressed upon their lives?

Damn! Mr. Perdue, you really must consider a marriage license to be the be-all and end-all of our existence. But guess again --- it's not.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | July 19, 2009 3:17 PM

Nitpick away.

To my knowledge there were no federal sodomy laws overwhelmingly passed by by a bipartisan Congress and signed by a gloating bigot. (I imagine it’s likely that there were some connected to the UCMJ or prison regs.) I'm not a lawyer and havn't heard of any so correct me if I'm wrong. The state laws, as you’ve said, were bad enough but we’re discussing federal law.

Marriage means nothing to me. It's a cult based, outdated, singularly demented form of partnering. I contentedly partner but without a ball and chain or a license. That fact that he’s a guy and that I love him is all the authority I’ll ever need.

However, the right of my brothers and sisters who, unlike me, do want to get married, means a lot. It’s their inalienable right. Thankfully I'm a socialist, part of the left and not part of some unprincipled right centrist party with a partisan ax to grind. Unlike some I don't owe any allegiance to bigots like Obama, McCain or the Clintons.

Bill Clintons disgusting and unashamed endorsement of bigotry when he signed DOMA led directly to huge fights over the question, most of which we've lost. Those fights and the ones over choice – abortion rights, helped build the christer right and demoralize us. I wish I was exaggerating. You may think its small potatoes but when we lose convincingly in 39 states that’s what I'd call an explosion of bigotry. Clinton lit the fuse.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | July 20, 2009 11:20 PM

Or it could be an uninformed electorate and the previously mentioned politicians who knew the will of those they represented. Ours is a duty to communicate better

A. J. Lopp | July 18, 2009 10:51 PM

P.S. I will admit that my statement "DOMA was a substitute for FMA" is poor wording on my part and misleading. I did not mean that it was a substitute chronologically or historically. I should have said that, because DOMA was in place, the passage of FMA proved to be less of a threat.

If I could edit my previous comment, I would remove that clause out of that sentence entirely.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | July 20, 2009 5:54 AM

AJ, do you suppose anyone actually read all of that? Oh well, at least you gave him something to do as he wanders though his pointless revisionism.

Hope you are doing well Comrade! :)

Rick Sours | July 20, 2009 11:25 AM

RE: Bill Perdue | July 20, 2009 10:27 AM "Bill Clintons disgusting and unashamed endorsement of bigotry when he signed DOMA led directly to huge fights over the question, most of which we've lost. Those fights and the ones over choice – abortion rights, helped build the christer right and demoralize us. I wish I was exaggerating. You may think its small potatoes but when we lose convincingly in 39 states that’s what I'd call an explosion of bigotry. Clinton lit the fuse."

Members of the LGBT community continually support
Democrats with both our money and our votes.
Former President Bill Clinton said he was a
friend of the LGBT community. The damage done
under his administration to LGBT causes will take
years to overturn or correct if ever. Glad Bill
Clinton didn't say he was our enemy. Now that Bill Clinton is no longer President he is on the speaking tours and has books deals. When he was President he did what was to his political advantage. Now that he is out of office, he does or says what is to his financial advantage; either way the LGBT community suffers.