Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) rebutted his rival Hillary Clinton’s attempt to revise history on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that her husband then-President Bill Clinton signed into law.
Host Jake Tapper said, “One of the issues that you drew a contrast with on Hillary Clinton last night had to do with the Defense of Marriage Act which Bill Clinton signed into law.”
Tapper played a clip of Hillary telling MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that DOMA was a line that was drawn that was to prevent Republicans from going further and it was “a defensive action.”
Sanders said, “I think the history of that is pretty clear. The Republicans came into Congress. many of them, I’m sorry to have to say, were homophobic. They saw it as a good political issue. What they were trying to do is make it impossible for gay couples to be married, to have — get benefits from the federal government, to have marriage in one state be accepted and recognized in another state. I think everybody at the time knew this was simply homophobic legislation.”
He continued, “And I have to tell you something, the vote that I cast, we were — the vote on that was overwhelmingly for DOMA because I think a lot of members of Congress were nervous about going home. It was not an easy vote. I voted against DOMA because I thought then and I think now that people have the right to love those folks that they want to love and get married regardless of their sexual orientation. It was not an easy vote. But that was the issue and I think everybody at the time knew what was going on.”
Tapper said, “You’re calling that legislation homophobic. Hillary Clinton is out there saying that Bill Clinton signed into law, she said that it was done as a way of being defensive to protect gay rights.”
Sanders said, “No, I would not agree with that assertion. I think — look, and in fact, what — that legislation was initiated not by Bill Clinton. He signed it. It was initiated by Republicans in the House. he ended up signing it, not vetoing it. But to my mind, I think the evidence is very, very clear that that legislation was anti-gay legislation, it was playing off fears of a lot of Americans. Now, the good news, as Hillary Clinton just indicated, the culture has changed radically. We have become a far less discriminatory society. Gay rights and gay marriage is now legal in 50 states in this country. We should be very, very proud of it. We have come a long, long way since that vote in 1996.”
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