Lane Hudson

Hillary's DOMA Dilemma

Filed By Lane Hudson | August 07, 2007 9:26 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: DOMA, Hillary Rodham Clinton, marriage equality

Here is a response that Hillary Clinton gave in response to a question posed by Paul Hogarth of BeyondChron:

Secondly, DOMA, I believe that DOMA served a very important purpose. I was one of the architects in the strategy against the Marriage Amendment to the constitution, and DOMA gave us a bright line to be able to hold back the votes that were building up to do what I consider to be absolutely abominable and that would be to amend the constitution to enshrine discrimination. I believe marriage should be left to the states. I support civil unions as I’ve said many times with full equality of benefits and so I think that DOMA appropriately put the responsibility in the states where it has historically belonged and I think you’re beginning to see states take action. I think it’s, I think part three of DOMA needs to be repealed because part three stands in the way of the full extension of federal benefits and I support that. So that’s the first.

She pretty much said that banning equal marriage is discrimination, which makes me wonder why she isn't better on issues of equal rights. But, that's a completely different issue.

However, if Hillary supported passage of DOMA then as a means to prevent passage of FMA, then the fact that FMA no longer stands a chance at passage should be taken into account now. Accordingly, she should take her support of repealing parts of DOMA further.

The commerce clause of the United States constitution makes it clear that each of the States shall respect the laws of other States. Accordingly, it wouldn't be a stretch for her to advocate repealing that provision of DOMA.

Recent news articles in Newsweek and the Washington Blade showcase the tremendous support that Hillary is receiving from the LGBT communities around the country.

The question remains with regard to what we are getting for our support. Very little time has been spent addressing LGBT rights during the previous Presidential debates and forums. This Thursday, Logo Network and the Human Rights Campaign will host a forum with the Democratic Presidential candidates. (Joe Biden never committed and Chris Dodd recently canceled.)

Here is a comment which doesn't make me think that any candidate will be pressed towards taking positions in support of our movement toward equal rights.

The purpose of this forum is not to provide gotcha moments, because that doesn’t serve anybody well,” said Jonathan Capehart, a gay Washington Post editorial page writer who will serve as a panelist for the forum.

But you do want to get the candidates talking about these issues in a way that’s human and not overly rehearsed.

I hope the panelists will consider pressing Hillary on this point. Accordingly, I hope Hillary will show the courage to expand her position and show the LGBT community that she is truly willing to fight for equality.

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Lynn David | August 8, 2007 1:56 AM

Expedience is a wonderful thing.... especially when one can use the same reasoned act years aferwards to molify the same crowd for different reasons. For that reason Clinton won't speak in favor of repealing DOMA. Keeping it gets her more votes than getting rid of it and that would lose her even more.

Leland Frances | August 8, 2007 4:30 AM

"...which doesn't make me think that any candidate will be pressed towards taking positions in support of our movement toward equal rights."

You mean like federal benefits for those in state-legalized same gender relationships? Agreed and noted. Like repeal of DADT? All support. Hate crimes and nondiscrimination legislation? I believe so. So what more do you want? Obama and/or Edwards to come to your house and do you?

One could too easily say that the proverbial elephant in your room is "gay marriage," but the actual elephant in all our rooms, all our lives, is the elephant that represents the Republican party which is still controlled by homohating nuts as evidenced by their leading candidates crawling over each other to see who can get the farthest from any real support for anything remotely resembling gay equality in their pasts.

Ya want eight more years of that? You want more lifetime right wing appointments to the Supreme Court? Ya want to still be seeing bodies stacking up like cordwood in Iraq four years from now? If so, then keep tagging along with NGLTF's Matt Foreman [fast becoming the gay movement's Jim Jones] et al., blubbering, "But Mommy! The Democrats don't luv me enough! Spank them, Mommy!!! Bad Democrats, bad!!!!"

Steve Ralls | August 8, 2007 8:45 AM

Leland is right. Clinton is light years ahead of any of her Republican counterparts when it comes to LGBT issues. And, if elected, she would arrive in the Oval Office as the most pro-LGBT president in history.

And it is patently unfair to single out Clinton for criticism. Obama talked a good game at the Democratic convention, with his blue & red state ramblings, but has been far more quiet than Clinton when it comes to LGBT issues in this race. Edwards talks about how religion plays a role in his opposition to marriage, but is never pressed about marriage as a civil, versus religious, issue. (Now, Biden and Dodd won't even show up at the LOGO forum to talk about any of the issues at hand.) And only Kucinich and Gravel have endorsed full marriage equality.

So why pick on Clinton? Wouldn't our time be better spent focusing on our enemies, and not sharpening spears for our friends?

The Dems remain the 'lesser of two evils,' I should think. But we remain a long way from equality.

If Clinton takes office she'll be so many 'firsts in history' that the fact that she's the 'most pro-LGBT president in history' will recede into the shadows.

And, not to pick on our 'friends,' but they need to shape up and do more and we need to demand more. It should be unacceptable in 2007 that we are fighting for equal rights in the United States of America. Simply unacceptable.

Finally, what troubles me is if Clinton is elected we will have succesfully had two families sharing the OO for 24 years, possibly 28, not-to-mention the number of Bushies in the Reagan administration the 8 years prior. Are we really that gullible, unmotivated, and manipulatable that of the roughly 270 million people in this country no other family is qualified and able?

Sigh. Anyway, the dems remain the lesser of two evils and I suppose we should first get them in office and then thank them as we continue to lobby and fight to elevate ourselves from our second class citizen status... I'm actually surprised we're not fighting for our right to vote while we're at it!

Leland Frances | August 8, 2007 11:40 AM

Mr. Ralls: We have had our differences, but I sincerely bow at your feet for your courage to say what you did when so many gays, including some in professional organizations such as yourself, are yelling, "All or nothing! Death to the Democrats!" and would pull us all over the cliff over their demand for moral purity.

As I've written elsewhere, I believe the disproportionate attention to Edwards responses to questions about marriage has been engineered by one of his Dem opponents to distract from the fact that their positions are virtually the same. Further, Obama is the one whose book and approach to the election has involved a lot of Bible waving as Black lesbian minister, the Rev. Irene Monroe has repeated pointed out. And, courageously, given that criticism of Obama, particularly by other people of color, has been treated like some kind of heresy. In addition, when Obama spoke at a United Church of Christ convention, he praised them for a long list of unpopular ahead-of-their-time positions, e.g., slavery and women's rights but made no mention of their extremely pro-gay positions.

Still, I will support whichever Dem candidate gets the nomination for any one of them at his/her worst is better than any of the Repugs at their best [their unanimous opposition to overturning DADT alone is a measure of their homophobia, ignorance, dishonesty or all of the proceeding].

There IS a time to hold the Dems' feet closer to the fire, but it is not now but in 2012 when, hopefully, one of them will be running for REelection. We will then have a measure of what they will have at least attempted to do actually in office and not on this campaign trail and they will need our votes all the more.