FLASHBACK: Clinton in ‘96: ‘I Have Long Opposed Governmental Recognition of Same-Gender Marriages’

April 1, 2013 - 3:15 PM

Bill Clinton

Former President Bill Clinton (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - Former President Bill Clinton, writing in an op ed in the Washington Post last month, said that he signed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996 because it would stave off efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution to limit marriage to the union of one man and one woman.

He cited the senators who made that claim in an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court, which recently heard the case to overturn DOMA -- a law that defines marriage for federal purposes as a union between one man and on woman -- and another on a California constitutional amendment to limit marriage to the union of one man or one woman and will rule on both this summer.

“It was under these circumstances that DOMA came to my desk, opposed by only 81 of the 535 members of Congress,” Clinton said in the commentary.

But in 1996, at the time he signed DOMA into law, the then-president said he had “long opposed” the federal government approving by recognition same-sex marriage.

“I have long opposed governmental recognition of same-gender marriages and this legislation is consistent with that position,” Clinton said in the statement.

“The act confirms the right of each state to determine its own policy with respect to same gender marriage and clarifies for purposes of federal law the operative meaning of the terms ‘marriage’ and ‘spouse.’”

Clinton was clear in 1996 to dispel any idea that DOMA was discriminatory – as homosexual activists charged.

“I also want to make clear to all that the enactment of this legislation should not, despite the fierce and at times divisive rhetoric surrounding it, be understood to provide an excuse for discrimination, violence or intimidation against any person on the basis of sexual orientation,” Clinton said in the statement. ‘Discrimination, violence and intimidation for that reason, as well as others, violate the principle of equal protection under the law and have no place in American society.”

In his 2013 Washington Post op-ed, however, Clinton called DOMA discriminatory and called for it to be overturned.

“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,” Clinton said. “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,” Clinton said.