This video is making the rounds on the moderate conservative sites, like Andrew Sullivan’s, and Dave Weigel’s Slate column, and they’re all screaming “hypocrisy!” — essentially.
But that’s unfair and I think deep down they know it.
And remember, these two especially do support same-sex marriage.
The video shows three U.S. Senators — Dick Durbin, Hillary Clinton, and Harry Reid — all who support marriage equality today — speaking out, in 2004, not against same-sex marriage, per se, but in favor of “traditional marriage” — and against a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
Why can’t conservatives, including Sullivan and Weigel, but mostly those farther to the right, understand that supporting same-sex marriage does not mean you oppose “traditional” marriage, you’re merely supporting the rightful inclusion of marriage to a class of people from whom it was withheld previously.
I think they do, but this ludicrous exercise is futile.
Weigel explains this “short video composed of the floor speeches some top Democrats made about SSM.”
At the time, Republicans wanted to block gay marriage in Massachusetts by amending the constitution with an official marriage definition. Democrats argued against that, but they didn’t argue in favor of gay marriage. They argued that DOMA made such an amendment unneccessary. They assured people like Rick Santorum that the slippery slope case for gay marriage was bogus.
The new Democratic advocates for SSM fall into two camps. The first consists of people who always liked the idea of this but worried about losing national elections. In his memoir, Democratic consultant Bob Shrum remembers John Kerry fretting that the Massachusetts Supreme Court had forced Democrats to talk about gay marriage before they were ready to. “Why couldn’t they just wait a year?” he asked Shrum, mournfully. The second camp consists of people who really do oppose the idea of gay people getting married. Republicans argued that this second camp was tiny, and that liberals were hiding behind it. They were right!
It’s called “evolving” for a reason. There’s no shame to be for same-sex marriage having opposed it earlier. The only shame is to not be for same-sex marriage today.
The fact of the matter is that two decades ago, most gay people didn’t even think of marriage as a possibility. And in 2004, when we were all waking up, it was a devastatingly difficult position to support. We should build a monument to those who did. But we should also embrace and support those who have “evolved” now.
“In some ways, I find the opportunism of the Clintons – who did more substantive harm to gay people in eight years than any other administration – more disgusting than the fundamentalist hostility,” Andrew Sullivan writes, curiously, because his piece is titled, “How The Democrats Have Evolved“:
At least the Christianists were sincere. The Clintons have always been phonies and opportunists and for Bill Clinton to proclaim the sanctity of marriage and sign DOMA while cigar-fucking his intern tells you a lot about him. On no issue were they as shameless as on this one – portraying themselves as civil rights advocates while kicking those of us fighting for equality squarely in the groin.
The former president still refuses to apologize for what he did to us. He cannot own it. But history will.
History will judge us all. Right now, I’m focused on the present.
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