Bill and Hillary Clinton praised the Supreme Court’s reversal of a key provision in the Defense of Marriage Act Wednesday, calling the 1996 law “discrimination.”
“By overturning the Defense of Marriage Act, the Court recognized that discrimination towards any group holds us all back in our efforts to form a more perfect union,” the Clintons said in a statement posted on the Clinton Foundation website. “We are also encouraged that marriage equality may soon return to California.”
The former president and his wife, the former secretary of state, concluded, “We applaud the hard work of the advocates who have fought so relentlessly for this day, and congratulate Edie Windsor on her historic victory.”
Left unmentioned was the fact that Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law while president. The 1996 Clinton-Gore ticket ran ads on Christian radio stations taking credit for the legislation, which prevented federal recognition of same-sex marriage.
The Defense of Marriage Act also allowed states to withhold recognition of gay marriages that were legal in other states. Senate Democrats voted 32 to 14 in favor. House Democrats supported it by a margin of a margin of 188 to 65.
Liberal stalwarts Joe Biden, Paul Wellstone and Barbara Milkulski were among the Democratic “yes” votes.
Democratic strategist Robert Shrum has said that Clinton urged John Kerry to support state-level gay marriage bans during the 2004 presidential campaign. Clinton has denied the charge.
Hillary Clinton also supported DOMA as a Democratic senator from New York. Even as she argued against a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, she described marriage as “not just a bond, but a sacred bond between a man and a woman.” She cited her own troubled marriage with Bill as a reason for that belief.
Clinton then invoked “the fundamental bedrock principle that [marriage] exists between a man and a woman going back into the mists of history as one of the founding foundational institutions of history and humanity and civilization, and that its primary, principle role during those millennia has been the raising and socializing of children for the society into which they are to become adults.”
Early in her presidential campaign, Clinton insisted to the YearlyKos convention that “DOMA served a very useful purpose.”
Both Clintons now favor gay marriage. Hillary Clinton is considered the frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.