Clinton Says His View On Gay Marriage Is “Evolving”
Posted on May 31, 2009
Filed Under Uncategorized
ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: This afternoon in Toronto, former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush shared a stage for a “conversation with presidents” at Toronto’s Convention Centre, in a ticketed event (with a hefty payday for both ex-presidents) that was open to the general public.
It was a fascinating discussion — these two 62-year-old men with a combined 16 years in the presidency, talking about current and past events as probably no one else alive can, for the first time in a public forum.
While President Bush mostly kept to his promise not to criticize his successor, he bristled at the suggestion — advanced by President Obama, among others — that Iraq distracted the nation from the war in Afghanistan.
“I don’t buy the premise that our attention was diverted” by Iraq, Bush said. “I think it’s false. Matter of fact, I know it’s false. I was there.”
And while President Clinton mostly kept to his promise to “thwart” efforts to get 42 and 43 to tangle with each other, he offered an interesting insight into his thinking on gay rights.
On the issue of gay marriage — which Clinton, like President Obama, personally opposes — Clinton said of his position: “Frankly, it’s evolving” as he sees more committed gay couples raising kids.
As ABC political director David Chalian has pointed out, Clinton isn’t the only Democrat whose position on gay marriage is moving.
Clinton also expressed optimism that the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell policy” — which he helped enact — will eventually come off the books, allowing gay members of the armed services to serve openly.
“I think that time will lead to a repeal of this ban,” Clinton said.
That’s one of many areas where the former presidents disagree. But mostly, this event was a lovefest.
Clinton heaped praise on Bush for his AIDS initiative and the diversity of his Cabinet. Bush urged Clinton not to be so hard on himself over Rwanda.
Bush welcomed the audience to “the Bill and George show.” Clinton teased that while the pair was facing expectations that they would “devour each other,” “we’ll do our best to thwart them.”
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