Democratic presidential candidate
Bernie Sanders on Sunday said that he disagreed with Hillary Rodham
Clinton's “explanation” of why former President Bill Clinton
signed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
Appearing on CNN's State of the
Union, Sanders challenged remarks Clinton made on passage of
DOMA, which prohibited federal agencies from recognizing the legal
marriages of gay and lesbian couples. The Supreme Court in 2013
struck down a key provision of DOMA.
On Friday, Hillary Clinton said that
her husband signed the law as a “defensive action” to prevent
passage of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution which would ban gay
Clinton explains DOMA, DADT; Says they were “defensive actions.”)
During Sunday's interview, State of
the Union host Jake Tapper noted that Sanders had “sharply
contrasted” his record with that of Clinton's during an Iowa
“You voted against the Defense of
Marriage Act. Hillary Clinton is calling it a defensive action.
Last night you said some are trying to rewrite history,” Tapper
“Well, I think the history on that is
pretty clear. The Republicans came into Congress, many of them, I'm
sorry to have to say, were homophobic,” responded
Sanders, an independent senator from Vermont. “And what they
were trying to do is make it impossible for gay couples to be
married, to get benefits from the federal government.”
Sanders, as a member of the House in
1996, voted against passage of DOMA.
“I thought then – and I think now –
that people have the right to love those folks that they want to love
and get married regardless of their sexual orientation,” he said.
“It was not an easy vote, but that was the issue.”
Tapper pressed: “[Clinton] said that
it was done as a way of being defensive, to protect gay rights.”
“I would not agree with that
assertion,” Sanders replied. “To my mind, I think the evidence
is very, very clear that that legislation was anti-gay legislation,
it was playing off the fears of a lot of Americans.”
“Now the good news – as Hillary
Clinton just indicated – the culture has changed radically. We
have become a far less discriminatory society. Gay rights and gay
marriage is now legal in 50 states in this country. We should be
very, very proud of it. We've come a long, long way since that vote
in 1996,” he added.