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. Tanya williams

    Say NO to same sex marriages..We cant keep hiding the fact that these people have some sort of mental problem, If more people had better healthcare, they could go to a medical doctor for relief instead of looking at their friend of the same sex and having sexual thoughts....Thats Just sick........Do they know they cant produce or is it just a fad... something to do for the moment or something to commit to for life..Its terrible how people live,doing things, just tomake them feel good, even if it hurts society.....They are no better that Drug Addicts who need counseling......whats the difference between a regular friendship and gay friendship......they decided to have sex???? Can I be your partner without us having sex....what make us different ......we are not gay....and just dont see where reality steps in within this problem......God Bless America......And kids please fight those temptations.......the puzzle piece does not fit.....Dont put it there Tommy or Annie

    September 25, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  2. Jasmine in Germany

    To: ediMasterMatt – Bethlehem, PA September 25th, 2009 4:45 pm ET

    Thanks, you said it clearly and nicely. This is a civil and human rights matter. People should not be judged or discriminated against by their sexuality. I'm tired of the ignorance, too. I'm not gay, but I am an advocate of human rights.

    Interesting enough, in Germany (where I live) , a legal civil union (through an official office of the City Hall) is mandated for all "legal marriages". If a couple wants to marry in a church, this is done separately and afterwards, usually the next day. The person performing the marriage in the church does not have the authority to proclaim the civil and legal union, as in the US. The civil union counts in legal terms. Yes, in Germany, "married" couples celebrate their anniversary on their civil union date, and many have a 2nd anniversary date, the date they were unified in a church. Perhaps the "Separation of Church and State" makes more sense in other countries than in the US.

    September 25, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  3. Lynn

    How can Bill Clinton talk about commitment between partners with a straight face.

    September 25, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  4. vic nashville , Tn

    My personal opinion marriage mean between Man and Woman

    But I agree with president Clinton

    Some time we have to change our life style to respect human feelings

    September 25, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  5. dizizcamron

    lol @leo for not understanding history. Puritanism wasn't a religion, it was a movement within Christianity. and while they did found the Plymouth colony, that was not the founding of america. the founding of america was done by George washington, ben franklin, etc. Those guys weren't Christians, they were Deists.

    September 25, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  6. Susan in Sunnyvale, CA

    Marriage existed long before Christianity. It is a legal union and has nothing to do with religion (unless you choose so for yourself). You don't go to your minister to get divorced–you go to court.

    September 25, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  7. Jon

    Congrats Bill. One less bigot who just saved himself from burning in hell.

    September 25, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  8. Gary

    This country WASN'T founded by the Puritan religion. There may have been Puritans here in the beginning, but this country's founding fathers CLEARLY were skeptics at best and strongly believed in the separation of church and state. Many were agnositc, if not atheist. To believe differently is to ignore the history and facts of our founding fathers. People came to America to escape religious persecution and to practice their own religions, including none at all!

    September 25, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  9. Lynn

    How can Clinton talk about commitment with a straight face.

    September 25, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  10. Centrist

    The government should simply offer civil licenses and leave the semantics of marriage to individual churches. It would seem to help resolve this issue once and for all.

    September 25, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  11. Dave in TX/PA

    I think people confuse morality with religion. I see a couple comments stating a movement towards the moral destruction of America. A staunch atheist can still have morals. Christians and religious folk base their morals in religion but that doesn't mean a moral person must be religious!

    I believe in God but i also believe what other people choose to do is none of our business. I can't say I agree with homosexuality (like it matters if I agree or not anyway!!) but I can say they deserve the same rights we all enjoy!

    September 25, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  12. John from LA

    Bill...IT'S ABOUT TIME!!!!

    September 25, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  13. Kelsey

    Homosexuals are not the ones ruining marriage. Straight people who get divorced, remarried, divorced again, and so on, people who cheat on each other, people who abuse their spouse and children, etc. are the ones ruining it. My bible thumping grandmother has been married a few times and at the ripe age of 65 has a's not just people who aren't christian who have these issues. I am straight, and I also have no interest in marriage at the point. I am 100% for gay marriage and always will be. Women and African Americans had to fight hard, but eventually accomplished what they fought so hard for. The same is true for homosexuals. Just wait, it will happen. This fight is just going to take more time.

    September 25, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  14. madcorbin

    No Limits –

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

    Does that mean you support repealing the Defense of Marriage Act? Because DOMA is preventing legally married gay people in Vermont from getting federal benefits, even though their state already decided gay marriage is okay.

    I notice a lot of people who support "states rights" are the same ones who love DOMA and were pushing for the U.S. Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

    September 25, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  15. Kathleen

    If President Clinton was in the WH instead of President Obama, former President Clinton would be fighting with his wife to preserve at least one part DOMA.

    It's simply too little, too late.

    I am the mother of a gay son and I will dance at this legal marriage someday, no thanks to the Clintons.

    For all the hysterical Christians, my son wants nothing to do with your church, thank you very much. He wants the same LEGAL rights as you and your children.

    September 25, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  16. Rob

    I agree with President Clinton. I love him. A truly great man. I have to believe that another great man, President Obama feels the same way.

    September 25, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  17. Lila

    Tanya Williams,

    I can try to appreciate your view, but as someone pointed out on here earlier, there is NO proof that homosexuality is a choice people make. There is also NO proof that it's a predisposition people are born into. Until there is proof, it would be terrible to judge people this way, based on personal assumption and bias.

    September 25, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  18. Dan


    We'll win on this issue. Equal rights always wins. It's only a matter of time.

    September 25, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  19. Robert

    That is fine that Bill Clinton has decided he no longer opposed marriage equality...

    But I have a problem with his idea that everyone should be part of the debate.. Equal treatment under the law is a constitutional right. Equal rights should never have been put up for a vote, and ultimately I believe the Supreme Court will overturn all of the state laws that recognize a marriage as only between one man and one woman...

    September 25, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  20. janelle

    Let's call a spade a spade Bill. Niether your nor your wife have any more elections to worry about, or any voter bases to upset, so now you tell us what you really think.

    My personal opionion, which has never changed, is that the only role goverment has in marriage is ensuring both parties entering into a marriage are adults, doing so of their own free will and not married to anyone else. Period.

    We have no room for discrimination of any way, shape or form in the United States!

    P.S. I am a Christian and a Republican.

    September 25, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  21. New Yorker

    independent_me – you are wrong. Jesus said he came to fulfill the law not abolish it. Read the whole bible, acquire the Holy Spirit and then you will be qualified to speak about it. Jesus also said, "You must be born again." Please post this truth, CNN

    September 25, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  22. JayG

    I'm personally against gay marriage. All you people who sit there and call it "equal rights" are crazy. What happens 10 years from now when people decide that they want to marry an animal? Would you consider that equal rights too? The way this country is going we will end up like the movie "Total Recall" in 15 yrs

    September 25, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  23. RufusVonDufus

    Too bad he has changed his belief! Is Chelsea coming out of the closet or something? Same sex marriage should be shunned by the U.S. as being not natural as marriage is between a man and woman. Civil unions is the correct term except for the loud mouthed liberals. Send them all over to Iran and Iraq once they get "married."

    September 25, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  24. Rick

    Ray, killing is not wrong murder is wrong. That is the difference between putting someone to death for a crime or during war and randomly killing someone in the street.

    September 25, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  25. John in Camden

    I'm an agnostic who strongly supports traditional marriage. I don't care what President Clinton has to say about anything–especially on issues of marriage. Maybe he's being a faithful husband for once and readying the 2012 field for Hillary's next presidential run.

    September 25, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
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