Bernie Sanders attacks Hillary Clinton over gay marriage law
The presidential candidates continue to trade blows in the fight for LGBT voters.
Bernie Sanders today challenged Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton’s explanation of why her husband – former President Bill Clinton – signed the Defence of Marriage Act, which denied federal recognition of gay marriages.
On Friday, Clinton said she too supported the 1996 legislation, but as a defensive measure to prevent an even stricter amendment to the Constitution with regards to marriage equality.
The law defined that marriage was between one man and one woman. President Clinton signed the act into law after it was approved by a Republican-led Congress.
“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,” she said.
However, Sanders rebuked her argument, labelling the act a “homophobic” and politically immoral law.
“I think the evidence is very, very clear that that legislation was anti-gay legislation,” he told CNN.
“It was playing off the fears of a lot of Americans.”
“I thought then — and I think now — that people have the right to love those folks that they want to love and get married because of their sexual orientation,” Sanders said.
Since then, though, he said, “We have become a far less discriminatory society,” and “we should be very, very proud. We’ve come a long way.”
In a strong week for Clinton, the former Secretary of State further explained her early opposition to same-sex marriage.
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The politician spoke out against same-sex marriage in the ’90s and ’00s – but came out in favour of equality in 2013, after reversing her stance.
Speaking at a New Hampshire campaign event, Clinton was asked by a bisexual man about her early opposition to equal marriage.
She said: “Yes – my views did evolve, and I think most people my age would say the same thing.”
Clinton, who was challenged on her U-turn during the Presidential debate last week, also spoke up in favour of the Democrat-sponsored Equality Act to outlaw anti-LGBT discrimination, which is currently pending in Congress.
She said: “I will enforce marriage equality, but we’ve got to go further than that. In a lot of states now, because of the constitutional decision, you can get married on Saturday and fired on Monday, because we still permit discrimination.”