Love and politics

Clintons’ support of DOMA in 1996 may hurt Hillary in 2016

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Former US President Bill Clinton hug after she officially launched her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination during a speech at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island June 13, 2015 in New York. Hillary Clinton announced Saturday she was running for president for all Americans, unveiling a progressive platform promising to promote equal opportunity and fight for a beleaguered middle class. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

In 1996, Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a bill that would ensure same-sex marriages would be second-class even in the states that permitted them. The Clintons’ support of the hateful law is a liability to Hillary in her primary matchup against Bernie Sanders, who voted against DOMA at the time, but the Clintons have sought to justify the decision retroactively by arguing that DOMA helped to fend off Republican attempts to pass an amendment banning gay marriage. Research indicates however that while DOMA would help take the wind out of the gay-marriage-amendment sails between 2004 and 2011, the reality is that in 1996 it simply wasn’t pragmatic to publicly support gay marriage while running for re-election. Instead the Clintons chose to support the gay movement behind the scenes, by appointing openly gay officials and LGBT friendly judges — a tactic that would also be employed by Obama and ultimately lead to the Supreme Court’s ban on marriage inequality.

Read the full story at Vox.

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