April 3, 2013

Bill Clinton Is The Most Anti-Gay President We’ve Ever Had

The Supreme Court of the United States Building in Washington, and gay symbols.

Part II. Hawai’i Inspires Love And Republicans Inflame Hate 1991 - 1996


Throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, the gay community received significant media attention because of the AIDS epidemic.

April 1991 - - - Ninia Baehr, Genora Dancel, Tammy Rodrigues, Antoinette Pregil, Pat Lagon, and Jeseph Mellilo filed a lawsuit against the state of Hawai’i when they were denied marriage licenses. The state trial court dismissed the suit, Baehr v. Miike  in October 1991.

May 1993 - - - The plaintiff’s filed an appeal, and the Hawai’i Supreme Court ruled that denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples was discriminatory and violated the state’s equal protection clause. The Hawai’i Supreme Court remanded the case back to the trial court.
[NOTE: Hawai’i voters enacted a same-sex marriage ban as a result of the court decision in 1998.]

The 1993 court ruling  was like the “shot heard ‘round the world” in the
gay community, and politicians in state houses and Congress took notice too..  Marrying our partner wasn’t a priority in the
LGBT community in 1993, and until the Hawai’i state Supreme Court decision was announced, gay couples hadn’t even considered marriage as a possibility.


Intolerance, Bigotry and Fear in the 1990’s


Throughout the 1980’s and the 1990’s, the AIDS epidemic ravaged the gay community, with scores of gay men dying every day.

Misinformation and ignorance about HIV and AIDS fueled considerable anti-gay rhetoric and bigotry. The Republican party and faith-based organizations cemented their political alliance around social issues, and coined the term “social conservative” to appear benign and hide their anti-gay animus.

There were members of Congress calling for gay men to be isolated, imprisoned or quarantined like animals. Reverend Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson built political movements by demonizing gay men, and playing on people’s fear of contracting AIDS.

With marketing schemes based on lies, fear, and innuendo, they spread anti-gay propaganda to raise money. They tried to derail federal funding of AIDS research, and made false claims that HIV education was a gay plot to indoctrinate and recruit children to the “homosexual lifestyle.”

This created a perfect storm and the ideal political climate to push for a federal law to ban same-sex marriage..

The Hawai’i Supreme Court decision scared the hell out of many members of Congress. If Hawai’i made gay marriage legal, other states would be required to accept and recognize a same-sex marriage performed there - due to the Full Faith and Credit Clause in the Constitution.

The Intolerant GOP: No Gays Allowed

Republicans controlled the House and Senate, and the party promised voters that they’d protect the institution of marriage.

May 7th, 1996 - - - Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA) introduced the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in the House, and Senator Don Nickles (R-OK) introduced it in the Senate. Section 2 of the bill said no entity will be required or forced to recognize “a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage,“ and Section 3 defined marriage as “a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife”.

May 20th, 1996 --- Voters in the state of Colorado passed a referendum that forbade any town, city, county or state entity to extend anti-discrimination protection to LGBT residents of the state (1992 Amendment 2).  After a lengthy appeals process that went all the way to the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS), two weeks after DOMA was introduced, the court issued their decision invalidating the Colorado law. In Romer v. Evans , the court found that the law was enacted “to harm a politically unpopular group” that had been subjected to discrimination.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, and said:
Amendment 2 is at once too narrow and too broad. It identifies persons by a single trait and then denies them protection across the board. The resulting disqualification of a class of persons from the right to seek specific protection from the law is unprecedented in our jurisprudence.
September 1996 - - - The Defense of Marriage Act was passed in the Senate 85-14, and passed in the House 342-67. It’s stunning that it passed when you consider that the Romer decision was issued 4 months earlier.

The Anti-Gay 42nd President of the United States


September 20th, 1996 - - - it was Friday morning and he wasn’t excited about the long day ahead and the interminable flight home. The itinerary began with a morning event on the west coast, then a 2 hour flight and an event in the midwest, with a 4+ hour flight that guaranteed he would arrive at Andrews Air Force Base well after dark.

September 21st, 1996 - - - at 12:50am Saturday morning he put pen to paper and quietly signed the bill that his own spokesman characterized as “gay baiting”. There were no witnesses, no photographers, and no staff members present.

With a stroke of his pen, William Jefferson Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States, signed the Defense of Marriage Act . During President Clinton’s first term, he signed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) and DOMA, which were the two most anti-gay legislative measures in modern history.

The White House Press Office issued a statement attributed to President Clinton, that said in part:
''I also want to make clear to all that the enactment of this legislation should not, despite the fierce and at times divisive rhetoric surrounding it, be understood to provide an excuse for discrimination, violence or intimidation against any person on the basis of sexual orientation. Discrimination, violence and intimidation for that reason, as well as others, violate the principle of equal protection under the law and have no place in American society.''
Clinton ran campaign ads produced for radio in southern states that bragged about signing DOMA.




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