Hardball | March 08, 2013
>> president clinton has signed the bill that bans the federal government from recognizing snex marriages. without fanfare after returning from a campaign trip after midnight, mr. clinton signed the bill. the white house says the president has long opposed government recognition of homosexual marriages but hopes the bill won't be used as an excuse to discriminate.
>> welcome back to "hardball." that was a 1996 "today" show report by bob kerr on bill clinton signing after midnight the defense of marriage act . also known as doma . by the way, he signed it just weeks before his re-election. there are no pictures of that bill signing because, as bob reported there, it happened after midnight and far away from tv cameras. today in washington in our own " washington post ," clinton disavowed the bill he signed back there into law writing, quote, in a powerful new op-ed piece on march 27th doma will come before the supreme court and the justices must decide whether it's consistent with the principles of a nation that honors freedom, equality and justice above all and is therefore constitution. as the president who behind the act into law i have come to believe that doma is contrary to those principles and incompatible with our constitution. this follows an amicus brief that signals political shift. dee dee myers knows the president very well. she was first woman press secretary in history and this weekend on bbc you can watch the documentary, what if women ruled the world which is a very wonderful sound to some people. maggie haberman writes for politico. thank you for joining us as well. dee dee , your guy, bill, he's just my bill, do you think it has anything to do with the fact that we're in a tremendously changed culture and environment these years later?
>> there's no question about it. the environment was very different and as president clinton points out in his piece today, there was great fear among advocates including him that there would be a federal constitution amendment banning a same-sex marriage that would be hard to overturn. doma was looked at as a stopgap measure a way to stop a national constitutional amendment movement. the proo of that was that was really urgent was since doma was signed 31 states has passed constitutional bans on same-sex marriage. so there was a lot of energy around it. it's amazing how much things have changed --
>> actually three or four states have actually voted on it. it's the state legislatures and the court have been the most active. public opinion of same-sex marriage has shifted so dramatically since '96. back when bill clinton signed the defense of marriage act which basically says we will not as a federal government recognize gay marriage , it was 27% support. i'm surprised it was that high. today it's 54%. 53%. it's really changed. let me get maggie ? here. a doubling of support for it which i thought was minuscule back then now it's a strong majority and going. among catholics it's a majority opinion . what do you make of bill clinton ? will this affect the court ruling ? do you think will this amicus and the fact he's such a powerful force affect the court decision is.
>> i think he is less likely to have an impact on the court's decision than i think this is about to the 2016 and the future --
>> he isn't running.
>> he's not running but someone else might be who he's related to. bill clinton has come out in favor of gay marriage . his daughter and this is really important to note, chelsea clinton was very prominent in favor of gay marriage in new york when andrew cuomo was trying to push through legislation legalizing gay marriage in 2011 . hillary clinton has not taken a position yet. it's very hard to see her doing anything other than eventually coming out in support of gay marriage which is where her family is and her party is as you note.
>> what's stopping her do you think? she could put out an op-ed piece and have to polished up for tomorrow's paper right now.
>> i think at the end of the day i think it is to be something less of an event than be a huge event. she is technically late to this. to be fair to her, she has been seen as very proactive on lesbian and gay issues in the state department . she had a pretty good record there. the gay community is generally very supportive of hillary clinton but a lot of gay activists have said they hope she would coming out --
>> you know --
>> go ahead.
>> the reason she hasn't is because she felt it was sort of incompatible as the nation's chief diplomat. . she didn't want to get mixed up in domestic politics when --
>> i think she would argue if she were sitting here it's a human rights ash issue.
>> that's why she's advocating on gay diplomats, allow --
>> let's talk politics for a second. i don't know how the court is going to rule. i hope it rules positively. i have changed my position mike lost of us, i have evolved. new word. magg maggie , you have covered this. what i think has crumbled is the opposition. it's not so much people are saying it's fair, people are gay, they're born gay. it may not be nature versus nur tour is a nonrelevant conversation. people are what they are, they should be allowed to pursue happiness and let's be fair and equal about it. but i think what's crumbled is the opposition. nobody can think of a reason to oppose it. it came up in prop 8. they couldn't find anybody to come in and say there's a public from in possessing it.
>> the most significant development you saw beyond the presidential race in 2012 but there were four states that had gay marriage related referenda, but overall were sort of aimed toward leadizing gay marriage . they were all successful for the pro- gay marriage side. that was a huge development because there had not been a ballot win before that and so you did see among the republican base some opposition still lingers. remember, you had the chik-fil-a protests in new york . there was at least one primary that was lost by a state senator who had voted in favor of gay marriage at the state level in new york . generally speaking, you're right. in a general election framework, mosh nationally beyond the party base and in the middle there has been movement on this. i think it's worth noting when you're talking about the cross tabs of where opinion has changed, african-americans now in most polling show a majority support for gay marriage . that's a big change.
>> that's the reason john derry is secretary of state rather than president. because in 2004 the issue was in ohio people got together there, our friend what's his name, karl rove , got together with don king and got a lot of african-americans preachers up in cuyahoga county in cleveland to get their people out, the flock out, the congregations out to vote against this gay marriage thing and that turned that case.
>> constitutional amendments were used against battering rams against progressives --
>> we thought north carolina would be hurt by that.
>> first of all, 85 senators voted for doma including joe biden , joe lieberman , chris dodd , tom daschle , barbara --
>> keep going, i love this.
>> mikulski. all the liberals.
>> john kerry did not vote for it. ted kennedy did not vote for it, but the majority -- 85 senators voted for it and now we're in a position --
>> what did doma do?
>> doma basically designed marriage as between a man and a woman and basically said that the --
>> all federal payments --
>> states wouldn't have to recognize --
>> that most important -- that's true didn't have to recognize --
>> outside of that definition.
>> virginia would have to recognize maryland but it also said for federal purposes social security , medicare, there's no such thing as gar marriage.
>> i think president clinton says --
>> i love this conversation. maggie thanks so much for coming on. i love this conversation especially from a political point of view. dee dee myers thank you. a model, by the way. she was at my bus stop recently on the bus stop . very demure. up next, the jockeying for 2016 -- it's all true. the jockeying for 2016 has already begun on both sides and that's coming up. pure politics coming back here in the place for politics in a couple minutes. [ male