Former President Bill Clinton, who signed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 barring federal recognition of same-sex weddings, called on the Supreme Court on Thursday to overturn the law.
Just weeks before the court takes up a case challenging the law, Mr. Clinton said he had come to believe that the law is unconstitutional and contravenes the quintessential American values of “freedom, equality and justice above all.” In doing so, he joined President Obama in arguing that the law be overturned.
“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,” Mr. Clinton wrote in an op-ed article posted on the Web site of The Washington Post on Thursday evening.
The former president’s argument reflected a broader shift in societal attitudes in the 17 years since the law was enacted. Mr. Clinton was never enthusiastic about the measure, but he was not on record supporting same-sex marriage at the time and, just weeks before his re-election, he felt he had no choice but to sign it. Still, to make the point that he considered it politically motivated, and to call as little attention to it as possible, he signed it after midnight.
In typical Clinton fashion, he goes on to blame the Republicans for something he did, saying that he was forced into it because some of the counter measures were “draconian” (yes, even Rhodes Scholars lack originality when beating dead horses).
But if there’s anything we’ve learned about this particular topic in recent months, it’s that “evolving” is all the rage. After all, in less than a year, President Obama has gone from opposed, to being a states’ rights guy to now favoring full-on federal intervention. At this rate, he may be in a gay marriage by Christmas.