Former President Bill Clinton has
endorsed gay marriage, The Nation reported.
As president, Clinton signed the 1996
Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the law that defines marriage as a
heterosexual union for the federal government, and the 1993 law that
bans gay men and lesbians from serving openly in the military, also
known as “don't ask, don't tell.”
DOMA bars married gay couples from
receiving federal benefits such as Social Security.
In May, Clinton said his position on
gay marriage was “evolving.” And apparently it has.
Last week, after an address to the
Campus National Conference in Washington, D.C. he said “I'm
basically in support” of gay marriage when asked.
“I personally support people doing
what they want to do,” Clinton said. “I think it's wrong for
someone to stop someone else from doing that [gay marriage].”
Clinton is the highest-profile Democrat
to reverse course on the issue yet. Five senators – Patrick
Leahy, Christopher Dodd, Kirsten Gillibrand, Charles Schumer and Tom
Harkin – this year have publicly flipped in support of gay
marriage. And gay marriage will likely play a pivotal role in
gubernatorial races in New Jersey, California, Maine, and Iowa.
President Obama has promised to repeal
DOMA, but the Obama administration continues to defend the law in
lawsuits challenging the law have been filed in federal courts
and, if successful, have the potential to strike down gay marriage
bans adopted by the majority of states.