September 25th, 2009
06:29 PM ET
5 years ago

Clinton speaks out on decision to support same-sex marriage

(CNN) - Former President Bill Clinton is speaking out about his decision to change his personal stance on same-sex marriage.

In an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper, the former president said that while he still believes the issue should be left up to the states, he is no longer personally opposed to same-sex marriage as he once was.

"I was against the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage nation-wide, and I still think that the American people should be able to play this out in debates," Clinton said. "But me, Bill Clinton personally, I changed my position.

"I am no longer opposed to that," he added. "I think if people want to make commitments that last a lifetime, they ought to be able to do it."

The full interview will air on Anderson Cooper 360 at 10 p.m. ET.

Filed under: Bill Clinton • Popular Posts • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (350 Responses)
  1. Finch

    Why is it that some Christians can cite all kinds of Biblical texts against same sex orientation but DON'T mind skipping all the other moral commandments? Like adultery, coveting, worshiping other gods, tattoos, etc?

    And just how did the Defense of Marriage Act PROTECT my marriage? My husband can cheat at any time or throw my butt onto the street with no negative repercussions. I have no protection.

    September 25, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  2. mark in Atlanta

    Too bed he didn't come to this conclusion when it would have mattered, but it's good to see Clinton moving to the right side of this basic human rights issue.

    September 25, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  3. Barbara

    In response to "Tony/Stafford Springs, CT I'm the only redneck in America that supports same sex marriage. You're all out with the times. Your old fashioned ideas are bad for society. Whatever happened to land of the free? Freedom of religion?"

    There are rednecks in Stafford Springs CT?

    September 25, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  4. Frank

    Mr. Bill Clinton,

    You are doing a great Job for our Country.

    Thank you and God Bless the Clinton Family.

    September 25, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  5. NVBrat

    So schmeckel... Marriage is a commitment to God (whatever religion) between a man and a woman. When you say two men or women getting married, it is an insult.

    So Athiests who enter into a marriage... it isn't marriage because they don't believe in "God," or how about Agnostics?

    M-F, M-M or F-F... a committed union between two consenting adults is MARRIAGE.

    This isn't about religion. This is about human rights!

    September 25, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  6. celeste

    i sure value HIS opinion. Bill has such a deep respect for the institution of marraige, as evidenced by his own behavior toward a woman he claims to love and who is the mother of his child. But i'm sure he is very sincere when he says he thinks that people should have a choice. he's certainly exercised his right to choose again and again.

    September 25, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  7. Bunksplace

    Marriage IS NOT a commitment to's between the two individuals getting married. For those religious fanatics please stop hawking and imposing your religious views on everyone else who may not be BELIEVERS!

    September 25, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  8. Straight & Legally Married But Not in a Church

    Why do the "Christians" keep bringing up what is says in the Bible? I thought there was supposed to be a separation of church and state? Isn't that one of the founding principles of this country? Why is it anyone else's business who marries who? How is anyone harmed by allowing someone the same rights as everyone else? And what about all those staight marriages of convenience? or for nothing more than money? How does your God look at those? Can you answer any of these questions intelligently without quoting the bible?

    September 25, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  9. Will

    Who are we to judge the commitment two adults wish to make to one another? Arguments that lean heavily on scripture and biblical law are moot. In a country void of an official religion and founded on the principals of freedom and civil liberties, all people of legal and consenting age should be allowed to commit themselves fully to one another in the exact way and with the same benefits afforded all other citizens.

    Those who tout "civil unions" as an equal alternative to marriage do not truly believe that the two are synonymous. If they were true equal, there would be no need for the different terminology.

    What threat do you feel in marriages between adults of the same sex? In what ways will these marriages alter or infringe upon whatever sanctity you feel within your own heterosexual marriage? Depending on the source, 41%-50% of your beloved marriages end in divorce. What sanctity?

    September 25, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  10. Jerry in Florida

    I guess, just like Hillary, Mr. Faithfull is selling out. I am really ashamed that I used to support both at one time.

    With President NObama at the helm and these two as his flunkies, God save America!

    September 25, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  11. Ray

    Why should heterosexuals be the only ones to suffer? As long as it's two consenting adults, go for it.

    Marriages mean money to hire caterers and churches and ministers and judges.
    Marriages mean extra money spent at the grocery store to buy enough food for two people, not just one.
    Marriages also mean money for lawyers when divorces happen.

    Allowing EVERYBODY to have the same equal rights (this is America, right?) means it could also help the economy.

    Good news all around, huh?

    September 25, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  12. Lola

    schmekel: September 25th, 2009 3:47 pm ET

    "Is it possible to get them some of the same rights and leave the term "marriage" out of it?

    Marriage is a commitment to God (whatever religion) between a man and a woman. When you say two men or women getting married, it is an insult."

    So a marriage between two athiests shouldn't be referred to as a marriage? Once marriage was legally recognized, it became a nationally sanctioned institution. And since the United States recognizes all citizens as equals, we cannot exclude some just because of a religious argument. I find the link between marraige and religion to be insulting, but I don't try to ban others from loving each other. That is what marriage is: two people who love each other making a life-long commitment to love each other until they die. I cannot see the harm in that, in fact, it is a beautiful thing and this world needs more of it. Bravo to Clinton.

    September 25, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  13. No Limits

    Why not allow brothers and sisters to marry, or let a man have seven wives, or let 13 year old children get married, or allow a little old lady to marry her cat?

    Gay marriage has nothing to do with equality, but everything to do with establishing cultural and moral boundaries within society. I'm sorry but I don't believe that there is anything biologically natural about homosexuality – and as such would seem to be a logical boundary to define appropriate behavior.

    In any case, family law has always been decided at the state level and should remain so.

    September 25, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  14. j. a. prufrock

    What's in a name? What often gets overlooked in the debates on gay marriage is that Marriage is considered as a religious sacrament by many religions, some of which consider same-sex unions to be a sin. To avoid all this, but to safeguard an individual's rights in a civil union, why not dispense with the term Marriage for a civil union? Just call it a Civil Union, sanctioned by the state in which the contract for the union is consummated, with equal rights alike for same-sex partners and opposite-sex partners. Save the term Marriage for the religious sacrament whose rite is executed by the appropriate priest/rabbi. Leave it to the individual religion to decide whether or not the sacrament of Marriage will apply to same-sex partners in that faith.

    September 25, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  15. Barbara Burdick

    I'm glad Bill Clinton is speaking out and able to embrace a change in his stance.

    September 25, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  16. aproudmemberoftheunpatrioticmob

    Covering this lying fool is as bad as covering that senile lying fool Carter. In the meantime, there is a public school in Philadelphia that is having 2nd graders sing songs praising Obama and the teacher (bless her little NEA corrupted heart) thinks its wonderful. There is an appointed member of the National Endowment for the Arts encouraging artists that they can get grants if they favorably portray Obama and his programs in their art. Does this not remind you of Communist China and the USSR in the 50's. Obama and the libs at work, destroying our freedom.

    September 25, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  17. ck

    LOL, Bill must have a boyfriend. Trouble in the household hillary? Better be careful.

    September 25, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  18. Nik Kripalani

    Hey this is a very sensitive issue, Gays have a rights just as much as conservitves do. I am sick and tired of this please will you all give it a rest. Talk about Education like for Math and Science. We are dead last in Math and dead last in Science. My parents have been married for 33 years and I love them both. At least when I met the Gay people at work, at least they are nice to me. Didn't your mothers those living and gone teach you any manners? I take things very seriously. Bill Clinton was right about changing his mind and he did it wisely.

    Three Cheers for Bill Clinton. I want People to think twice or thrice about making comments on Gay Marriage.

    Suppose it was about the Enviorment. If you wanted a power plant next to it. I would oppose it.

    September 25, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  19. margie w.

    Alright children hold the negative comments towards Former Pres. Bill Clinton. I am not gay but... say BETTER LATE THAN NEVER!"

    September 25, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  20. NVa Native

    Never seen so much ignorrance. Oral sex is sodomy too – idiot. Marriage only between man and woman, so who are you to say so – because of how you interpet some little black book why should you or anyone else tell some one what is right or wrong – hypocrite!
    Hey moron – Bill and Hilary are still legally married – how many years together now, and each of them for the first time – most repubs can't say that!!
    Eat your pill clown boy, mainstream accepts people, you are the old and decaying, next generation doesn't carry your hate or ignorrance.
    Gays have been around a lot longer than the bible!
    I've been in my first marraige for seventeen years, and no one, not even gays have a thing to do with our relationship. It's up to us, take some resonsiblity homo-phobes!
    In fact all these hypocrites afraid of gay marriage are the ones we should all be afraid of – who will they choose to demonize next is the question?

    September 25, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  21. sarah Tourjee

    whether you agree with gay marriage or not, it is so obviously happening anyway. and these kinds of strides don't tend to reverse once they get moving. get over it people. you're in serious denial if you don't believe that gay marriage is going to be legal nationwide really really soon. and guess what...if you're not gay, gay marriage won't change your life at all!

    September 25, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  22. Jackie in Dallas

    The dictionary defines marriage as "the social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc." Notice that the first part of that is LEGAL commitments? First and foremost, marriage is a legal institution; that's why priests and pastors say "by the authority granted to me by the state of "X", I now declare you man and wife", and why marriages can be made via a justice of the peace, a ship's captain, or without anyone saying words over the couple but by them saying them to each other in front of witnesses and with a license. A civil union does not carry the same legal connotations or give the same legal rights as marriage, and cannot therefore be used as a substitute.

    If you do not feel like gays should be married in your church, by all means, talk to your pastor. But your religion should not affect whether others of a differing view point shouldn't feel free to make up their own minds.

    As for ENOUGH, et. al.; former President Clinton was a chief executive of this country and dealt with this issue during his terms in office. His previous stance was well known. His opinion is at least as valid, if not more so, than many who spout off about it from the NO position. And it shows what I have always known about Mr. Clinton; he's a thoughtful, intelligent man that is not adverse to reconsidering a decision when warranted. Did he make mistakes as President? Sure, he did and he paid for them. Does that invalidate everything he says, well no, it shouldn't. We would then have to consider everything that Senator McCain says (he was an adulterer who divorced his wife and married his lover), or everything that any other legislator or public figure says that hasn't led a perfectly blameless life as invalid.

    September 25, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  23. What?

    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that ALL men are created equal.."

    September 25, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  24. Randy, San Francisco

    Thanks for sharing your personal feelings on gay marriage. Your opinions still carry a lot of weight and credibility.

    September 25, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  25. Stu

    The issue is not for the government to decide. Its easy to write off as a sickness, mental illness, or abberation. However, until science proves anything, I'll not judge those who choose, as consenting adults, to be with a person of the same gender. Since marriage is really an ancient tradition probably originating in men's desire to control breeding stock (women) and say "that's mine", and needing some way to justify that over and above themselves, the religious connotation was attached.

    This from a die-hard GOP member!

    September 25, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
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