Democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton argued her husband signed the Defense of Marriage Act as “a defensive action” to prevent a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage in an interview broadcast on Friday’s “Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC.
Hillary was asked whether she would have the same approach on civil rights as her husband in light of him supporting the Defense of Marriage Act, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and the crime bill.
She responded, “On defense of marriage, I think what my husband believed, and there was certainly evidence to support it, is that there was enough political momentum to amend the Constitution of the United States of America, and that there had to be some way to stop that, and there wasn’t any rational argument, because I was in on some of those discussions, on both Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and on DOMA, where the president, his advisers, and occasionally I would chime in and talk about you can’t be serious, you can’t be serious, but they were. And so, in a lot of ways DOMA was a line that was drawn that was to prevent going further.” She further stated, “It was a defensive action.”
Regarding Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Hillary said, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is something that — you know, Bill promised during the ’92 campaign to let gays serve openly in the military, and it’s what he intended to do. … Oh, my gosh, it was the most astonishing overreaction, but — by the military, by the Congress. I remember being, you know, on the edge of one of those conversations, and so Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell again became a defensive line. So, I’m not in any way excusing them. I’m explaining them.”
She continued that the crime bill, “was the result of a lot of reaction, particularly from poor communities, communities of color, to the horrific crime rates of the 1980s, and there was just a consensus across every community that something had to be done. That went too far. First speech I gave in this campaign was about mass incarceration and about reform of policing practices. And I think that, sometimes as a leader in a democracy you are confronted with two bad choices, and it is not an easy position to be in, and you have to try to think, ‘Okay, what is the least bad choice, and how do I try to cabin this off from having worse consequences?'”
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