Former President Bill Clinton is now offering something resembling support for same-sex marriage:
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.” [ed. note: more commonly described as gauging the political winds]
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.”
Any guesses on whether the key word is basically or support in his statement? You don’t need proof, but here it is:
This spring, same-sex marriage was legalized in Iowa, Vermont, Connecticut, Maine and New Hampshire. In his most recent remarks on the subject, Clinton said, “I think all these states that do it should do it.” The former president, however, added that he does not believe that same-sex marriage is “a federal question.”
I’m supposed to get excited because Bill Clinton endorsed the status quo?
Of course, because it’s not only a Clinton, but the Clinton, organized advocacy groups must fawn over these statements as if the the common meanings of words are irrelevant.
“Bill Clinton joins other important public figures in stepping solidly into the twenty-first century in support of same-sex marriage equality,” said the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s executive director Rea Carey. “We certainly hope other elected officials, including President Obama, join him in clearly stating their support for equality in this country. Same-sex couples should not have to experience second-class citizenship.”
He’s not stepping “solidly” into the twenty-first century. He’s dipped his toe in the late twentieth century to test whether he can continue coasting on perceptions rather than actions. Hence, his endorsement of treating same-sex couples like second-class citizens for federal purposes.
[From the libertarian perspective, of course the state shouldn’t be involved in marriage. It is, and that’s not changing any time soon. Thus, federal recognition is a defensible goal.]
Via Conor Clarke, guest-blogging at The Daily Dish. He has more faith than I do that Clinton is “on the right side of this issue.”