Bill Clinton urges Supreme Court to overturn gay marriage law he signed

WASHINGTON — It’s not every day you see an ex-president ask the Supreme Court to strike down a law he … Continued

WASHINGTON — It’s not every day you see an ex-president ask the Supreme Court to strike down a law he signed.

That’s what Bill Clinton is doing with the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman — and which the high court will rule on this year in a landmark moment for the gay marriage movement.

The justices must decide whether the Defense of Marriage Act “is consistent with the principles of a nation that honors freedom, equality and justice above all, and is therefore constitutional,” Clinton writes in The Washington Post.

He adds: “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.”

Clinton says that when he signed the law in 1996, “it was a very different time.” No state recognized same-sex marriage, but some were considering it — and congressional opponents were proposing “quite draconian” responses, the 42nd president writes.

“As a bipartisan group of former senators stated in their March 1 amicus brief to the Supreme Court, many supporters of the bill known as DOMA believed that its passage’would defuse a movement to enact a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, which would have ended the debate for a generation or more,’” Clinton writes.

Now nine states and the District of Columbia sanction gay marriage, but those couples are denied rights available to others, Clinton notes; they “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.”

Says Clinton:

“When I signed the bill, I included a statement with the admonition that’enactment of this legislation should not, despite the fierce and at times divisive rhetoric surrounding it, be understood to provide an excuse for discrimination.’ Reading those words today, I know now that, even worse than providing an excuse for discrimination, the law is itself discriminatory. It should be overturned.”

The Supreme Court decision is expected in late June.

(David Jackson writes for USA Today)

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Religion News Service LLC.

  • WmarkW

    It depends on what your definition of “signed” is.

  • FrenchChef

    This is yet another crushing defeat for the anti-gay agenda.

  • Emily C.

    Religion does not have the right to limit our freedoms!

    Crimes such as theft and murder transcend “religion” as being acts of wrong, but religions are the only things that insist it is wrong to be gay. That should tell you it isn’t right. Marriage is a union between two people who love one another and vow to share their lives.

Read More Articles

Valle Header Art
My Life Depended on the Very Act of Writing

How I was saved by writing about God and cancer.

shutterstock_188545496
Sociologist: Religion Can Predict Sexual Behavior

“Religion and sex are tracking each other like never before,” says sociologist Mark Regnerus.

5783999789_9d06e5d7df_b
The Internet Is Not Killing Religion. So What Is?

Why is religion in decline in the modern world? And what can save it?

river dusk
Cleaner, Lighter, Closer

What’s a fella got to do to be baptized?

shutterstock_188022491
Magical Thinking and the Canonization of Two Popes

Why Pope Francis is canonizing two popes for all of the world wide web to see.

987_00
An Ayatollah’s Gift to Baha’is, Iran’s Largest Religious Minority

An ayatollah offers a beautiful symbolic gesture against a backdrop of violent persecution.

Screenshot 2014-04-23 11.40.54
Atheists Bad, Christians Good: A Review of “God’s Not Dead”

A smug Christian movie about smug atheists leads to an inevitable happy ending.

shutterstock_134310734
Ten Ways to Make Your Church Autism-Friendly

The author of the Church of England’s autism guidelines shares advice any church can follow.

Pile_of_trash_2
Pope Francis: Stop the Culture of Waste

What is the human cost of our tendency to throw away?

chapel door
“Sometimes You Find Something Quiet and Holy”: A New York Story

In a hidden, underground sanctuary, we were all together for a few minutes in this sweet and holy mystery.

shutterstock_178468880
Mary Magdalene, the Closest Friend of Jesus

She’s been ignored, dismissed, and misunderstood. But the story of Easter makes it clear that Mary was Jesus’ most faithful friend.

sunset-hair
From Passover to Easter: Why I’m Grateful to be Jewish, Christian, and Alive

Passover with friends. Easter with family. It’s almost enough to make you believe in God.

colbert
Top 10 Reasons We’re Glad A Catholic Colbert Is Taking Over Letterman’s “Late Show”

How might we love Stephen Colbert as the “Late Show” host? Let us count the ways.

emptytomb
God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

shutterstock_186795503
The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

egg.jpg
Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.