DOMA: Clinton Pushes Supreme Court to Overturn Act He Once Supported

Bill Clinton doesn't find the Defense Against Marriage Act to be constitutional, and you should feel the same way.

The former president is now urging the Supreme Court to overturn the Defense Against Marriage Act, also known as DOMA. It is the same piece of legislation he signed into law in 1996. DOMA strictly defines marriage on the federal level as a union between a man and woman, prohibiting the legal recognition of same-sex marriage and the benefits that come with marriage. Appeals courts have found the measure unconstitutional in the past, with seven different cases ruling DOMA unconstitutional ten times.  

Clinton made his pitch in an op-ed published in the Washington Post released March 7. In the piece, Clinton discusses the change within public consciousness within the last seventeen years. Clinton said that he once believed that DOMA was constitutional and not an excuse to enable discrimination, but since then has seen the error of his judgment. He wrote, "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'."

“Among other things, these couples cannot file their taxes jointly, take unpaid leave to care for a sick or injured spouse or receive equal family health and pension benefits as federal civilian employees. Yet they pay taxes, contribute to their communities and, like all couples, aspire to live in committed, loving relationships, recognized and respected by our laws,” Clinton wrote.

And if he were the man sitting in the White House today, he would receive heavy criticism for the nature of his signing flip-flopping into a repeal. However, since Clinton is out of office and seems to be highly popular with the American people, his words are uncluttered with the strength to sway the Supreme Court into the right direction. Because who doesn't love to see a politician say that they’re wrong? Then throw their full weight into the realm of social justice where millennials, the voices of the present and future, thrive?

Former Clinton aide Richard Socarides even suggested in an interview that the former president’s original stance might have been intentional. “Nothing comes out of him that isn't thoughtful and deliberate,” Socarides said. “Did he consider that it would someday be used in a brief to the Supreme Court arguing that DOMA was unconstitutional? Yes, I’m sure he knew that.”

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Zainab Akande

Born and raised in New York City, Zainab is a University of Delaware alum, currently working on obtaining her M.A. in journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in New York. http://zainabakande.com/

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