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. Bob in Pa

    Probably hooked up with an TV and enjoyed it.

    September 25, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  2. joseph


    Women should forever be subservient to men (Genesis 3:16)

    Man should not eat pork (Leviticus 11:1-47) (Deuteronomy 14: 3-20)

    Though shall not suffer a witch to live (Exodus 22:18) (which justified the killing of innocent women during the Salem Witch Trials)

    And of course, most famously the bible appears to sanction incest when Lot sleeps with his own daughters to bear him children (Genesis 19:32)

    Let's not forget the Bible was written by man, and translated many times by man, and is a reflection of the times it was written in. Even the Catechism has updated many of its teachings for application today. Although the Catholic Church hasn't sanctioned homosexuality, many of its priests however don't seem to have any problem with it!!

    September 25, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  3. Richard

    One other point: regarding the real debate, instead of the Mr. POLORIZING-Clinton, a civil union should provide the same rights as a marriage. This of course will cost time and money. All state laws will be changed. Insurance policies, eg car, home, life, will have to be amended. Inheritance laws will change. So, the issue is not just changing a norm; it is about spending time and money. That ALWAYS causes hesitation.
    The desire to change the meaning of marriage is also holding up this issue. Again, leave the meaining alone. This will appease not only Christians, but Jews, Muslims and other traditional religious minorities. However, in doing so, the civil union laws MUST afford the same rights as marriage. This is the only compromise that will work.

    September 25, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  4. craig

    It's odd.. People see marriage as a god thing – it is a contract thing. Also, you don't have to agree with my so-called lifestyle. Get over yourself.

    I don't care if it's called a kick in the rear, just so long as the same rights are afforded.. So, go on your merry little way and practice your archaic non-sense believing that a "higher being" gives a rats behind about what happens in this world.... Do you care if ants get married? Thought not...

    September 25, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  5. Robin

    matt September 25th, 2009 4:13 pm ET

    If I had the time, I could debunk your theory as well. I love the liberals. Moral standing is a bad thing to them. All this entertainment and a paycheck too!

    September 25, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  6. Roy

    So which BIBLE, of the many differently interpreted, are you quoting scriptures from? What if the Bible didnt exist, then how would you feel? Homosexuality hasnt hindered populations throughout the world from growing, so what in the hell is your problem with Gays marrying? How does it affect your desire to marry the person you love and have a family? Silly people. Btw, if youre going to use bible scriptures to condemn, remember there are many scriptures that will condemn you as well.

    September 25, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  7. Melissa

    Good. Its time the world started moving in the "non-childish" direction.

    September 25, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  8. ajk68

    The interest of the state in marriage is to make sure children grow up in a stable and healthy environment. The tax breaks and other financial benefits are there solely for that purpose.

    Since gay couple do not have children, the state has no interest in recognizing gay relationships. Any attempt to "have children" in a gay relationship always involves a third party – so it cannot be marriage.

    Part of the reason we have so much confusion over marriage is that the civil principles behind it have been betrayed for years – most notably by no-fault divorce.

    September 25, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  9. Don

    Why are breeders afraid of faithful committed loving gay couples being married? I'll never understand. I don't care who gets married. It's not my business.

    Equal rights for all in the land of the free,,,

    September 25, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  10. Jack in Florida

    Thank you Bill! People are hung up on semantics. Marriage/civil unions are both the same...two people declaring publicly their love and devotion to one another..since when did the religious patent the word "marriage". Many heterosexual couples marry civilly which has nothing to do with religion.
    Y'all need to get over yourselves and treat ALL Americans equally, not a select group because they conform to what society deems normal!

    Thanks for speaking your position Mr. President!

    September 25, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  11. Steven

    I have no problem with civil unions. However, redefining the word "marriage" is wrong.

    No one is re-defining the word marriage. Marriage was never a religious term. "Holy Matrimony" is a different story. Marriage is nothing more than a legal document and all it encompasses is financial things such as taxes.

    Think before you talk people!

    September 25, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  12. JediMasterMatt - Bethlehem, PA

    As a gay man, I am sick and tired of the Right and the Left arguing over a civil rights issue. 'Marriage' equates to a religious ceremony of a union between two persons. IF the US Government would give me and my partner the same rights legally that any str8 couple gets through 'Marriage', I don't care what the hell they call it.

    All you left-wingers stop acting like brats who aren't getting what they want just because the words don't meet your standards!

    ...and all you right-wingers, civil unions/marriage of gays and lesbians WILL NOT affect your marriage, cause hell to freeze over, or the world to end...stop pushing YOUR morals on the rest of us. How dare you affect our lives by banning our unions while gay marriage/civil unions would do NOTHING to change yours in any way, shape or form!

    September 25, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. A Democrat of 51 years who has finally got smart to their follishness.

    Way to go Bill. Its not for us to judge. God is the ultimate judge. And people should not be critical of you for your stance. They are setting themselves up to be Judge, Jury, and Prosecution. Shame , Shame, Shame.

    September 25, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  14. Jesus Francisco

    Sarah Tourjee ... I agree with you 100%

    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 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  15. Sharon

    Personally, this heterosexual female would rather the dead than wed again.
    However, why should heteros be the only ones to suffer? I agree with Bill that gay folks should be allowed to legally marry.

    September 25, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  16. CA

    So either Chelsea or Hilary came out of the closet to him recently!!

    September 25, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  17. Alfred H.

    There is no legal basis on which to deny gay people and gay couples full equality under the law, including access to a civil marriage certificate.

    Gay Americans pay their taxes and abide by the laws like everyone else.

    Until we let gay couples wed, we are failing in our promise as a nation. They do this kind of thing in Iran. Not in the U.S.

    And if some people can't tell the simple difference between a religious marriage ritual and a civil marriage license, they are too dumb to be Amercians anyway.

    September 25, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  18. Babs

    Older and wiser. I applaud Mr. Clinton.

    September 25, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  19. John

    Considering how many gays and lesbians have been in committed relationships for decades, and Mr Clinton's promiscuity over the same decades, it would seem the gay community might follow its own standards of conduct and forget about Mr Clinton on every single issue affecting the Human Condition.

    Mr Clinton's as relevant as Lieberman and Limbaugh these days.

    Which means their time is running shorter than they might care to admit.

    September 25, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    I guess once he doesn't have to run for office anymore his true opinions can be voiced.

    September 25, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  21. gENO

    To boil it all down, Bill is for sex, period, anyway, anytime, anybody, anyhow!

    September 25, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  22. JEFFR

    As Trudeau said 40 yearsago,
    The state has no business to interfere on what goes on in anyones bedroom

    September 25, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  23. Alex

    Go Bill Go!

    I think 50 years from now our children and grandchildren will look back and think we were crazy for trying to ban gay marriage.

    The whole argument is not even in defense of traditional marriage, as a real defense of marriage would be to end divorce or ban reproductively challenged couples from marrying.

    September 25, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  24. John, Brooklyn, New York

    A couple of thoughts regarding postings below:

    1) If, in fact, "marriage" is a religious status, then why would the government be regulating it in the first place? Wouldn't that be our churches' role?

    2) The answer, of course, is that it isn't simply a religious status...its a civil status as well. And, as long as it is a civil status, it needs to be accessible to all citizens...not just those that pass the "relligious tests for elligibility.

    3) As a gay Baptist (yes, I've heard all the oxymoron jokes) I can understand and support those who oppose conferring a religious status for those who a church may not be able to reconcile. I am fine with a "civil union" status that does not offend my faithful brothers and sisters.

    4) That having been said, however, I think that the government needs to get out of the marriage business if, as many of you have said, it is a religious status that is santified by the church. As the spirit of tearing down separate but equal barriers that are never in reality equal....I would suggest that the only reasonable solution is that ALL people should be given CIVIL UNION status to gain legal standing...with marriages being conducted only by churches.

    September 25, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  25. maz

    Just like a man marrying his dog? ha, ridiculous argument.

    The last ones to equate humans with animals were the Nazis. At least they agreed with you. Dogs are not consenting human adults, and your argument is a straw man. However, if you want to align yourself with Nazis, go ahead, it reveals your true self.

    September 25, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
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