A reader writes:
Andrew, please don’t ruin this great joy we’re all feeling about DOMA and Prop 8 by getting caught up again in your personal three-decade-old psychodrama with the Clintons. Bill is not a sociopath, per your recent post. He may have been craven to sign DOMA because he thought it was needed to salvage his reelection (and he may have been right, for whatever that’s worth), but that doesn’t even put him in the top 100 lists of political villains towards the gay community in the 1990s. If you haven’t read Josh Marshall’s take on DOMA back then, you should. He perfectly captures my take on the situation at the time, and now.
For the record, I’m a 45 year old gay man, and no I’m not an HRC guy – I find them as useless as you do – and you’re a personal hero of mine. But please don’t go down one of the over-the-top rabbit holes you do a couple times every year.
A reader on our Facebook page is more succinct:
Andrew, in another post you said that gay rights proponents should approach their former adversaries with a spirit of generosity. Maybe you should start with yourself and your bitterness towards the Clintons.
When he actually apologizes, I’ll leave this behind. But you cannot forgive someone who refuses to admit they did something wrong. Even above, he fails to take responsibility for what he did. He never took responsibility for his own actions. he wasn’t a passive observer on this; he was an active enemy of marriage equality, even exploiting homophobia in a re-election he was already winning in a landslide. Another reader:
I’m not going to defend Clinton and his craven actions around DOMA, but there are a few things that strike me about then and now. We had just come through the Federal Marriage Amendment. So, DOMA could be seen as a stop-gap measure to keep something like it from actually happening. Clinton doesn’t seem to have mentioned this in his more recent speeches, but it was surely a factor. Also, I have to wonder if something like DOMA needed to happen to get us to where we are today.
It kept us “safe,” if you will, from same-sex marriage while allowing it to build up from the grassroots. Of course, we’ll never know given that we can’t go back and test that theory. But change does often happen this way.