Who better to make an argument that the Supreme Court should overturn the Defense of Marriage Act than the man who signed it into law himself. On Thursday former President Bill Clinton joined current President Barack Obama in urging that the Supreme Court rule the law unconstitutional according to reports by CNN and the New York Times.
Clinton signed the law into effect in 1996 and described the time as a “very different time.” And now with gay marriage now legalized in nine states, Clinton is looking back at the law as “unconstitutional” as is disallows the same federal benefits to same-sex couples as are shared by straight marriage.
In an op-ed published online by The Washington Post, Clinton asks that the Supreme Court consider the principles that this nation was built on. He asks for the qualities of freedom, equality and justice be the recognizable traits in their ruling.
“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.”
Within his words is the recognition that we now live in a society that is more accepting. As the states of Maine, Maryland and Washington state made history this past Election Day, there is a shift in attitude as voters proved that times are different than they were 17 years ago when the law was signed.
Clinton originally opposed same-sex marriage but in 2009, he himself had a shift in opinion and a change of heart.
“I was against the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage nationwide, and I still think that the American people should be able to play this out in debates. But me, Bill Clinton personally, I changed my position.”
He no longer opposed marriage between two people who loved each other. He valued lifetime commitments and shares the same sentiments shared by Barack Obama when he became the first active president to publicly support same-sex marriage. On Thursday, the man who gave birth to DOMA by signing the law, became an ally standing the side opposing the law.
“I join with the Obama administration, the petitioner Edith Windsor and the many other dedicated men and women who have engaged in this struggle for decades in urging the Supreme Court to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act.”
DOMA comes before the Supreme Court on March 27.