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Bill Clinton: I Signed DOMA To Prevent ‘Draconian’ Constitutional Ban On Gay Marriage

by David Badash on March 7, 2013

in Marriage,News,Politics

Post image for Bill Clinton: I Signed DOMA To Prevent ‘Draconian’ Constitutional Ban On Gay Marriage

Bill Clinton says he signed DOMA into law in 1996 as a preventative measure, in order to diffuse a movement pushing a “draconian” constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. In a just-published Washington Post op-ed, the 42nd president of the United States notes, “It’s time to overturn DOMA.”

“On March 27, DOMA will come before the Supreme Court,” Clinton notes, “and the justices must decide whether it is consistent with the principles of a nation that honors freedom, equality and justice above all, and is therefore constitutional.”

As the president who signed the act into law, I have come to believe that DOMA is contrary to those principles and, in fact, incompatible with our Constitution.

The former Arkansas Governor, noting “I believe that in 2013 DOMA and opposition to marriage equality are vestiges” to the past, adds:

Because Section 3 of the act defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, same-sex couples who are legally married in nine states and the District of Columbia are denied the benefits of more than a thousand federal statutes and programs available to other married couples. Among other things, these couples cannot file their taxes jointly, take unpaid leave to care for a sick or injured spouse or receive equal family health and pension benefits as federal civilian employees. Yet they pay taxes, contribute to their communities and, like all couples, aspire to live in committed, loving relationships, recognized and respected by our laws.

Clinton concludes, “I join with the Obama administration, the petitioner Edith Windsor, and the many other dedicated men and women who have engaged in this struggle for decades in urging the Supreme Court to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act.”

DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, bans the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, and has been deemed unconstitutional by President Barack Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, dozens of federal judges, and now over 131 prominent Republicans. Practically every major nationwide poll has found the majority of Americans — a growing majority — supports the right of same-sex couples to marry.

Image: The former President in his first year of office, 1993.

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