Bill Clinton chimes in on N.C. same-sex marriage ban
May 6th, 2012
04:17 PM ET
11 years ago

Bill Clinton chimes in on N.C. same-sex marriage ban

(CNN) - Former President Bill Clinton voiced his opposition to an upcoming North Carolina ballot initiative to ban same-sex marriage, recording a robo call set to go out to half a million voters in the state on Monday.

“Hello, this is President Bill Clinton. I'm calling to urge you to vote against Amendment One on Tuesday May 8,” Clinton says in the recording.

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While North Carolina already bans same-sex marriage, the provision would officially stamp the policy defining marriage as the union of one man and one women as an amendment into the Constitution, making it the final state in the Southeast to add such a law regarding same-sex marriage.

Amendment One outlaws not only same-sex marriage but also civil unions and domestic partnerships of the same gender.

In Clinton’s robo call, he insists the passage of the law would have a damaging effect on the state’s reputation and economy.

“If it passes, it won't change North Carolina's law on marriage. What it will change is North Carolina's ability to keep good businesses, attract new jobs, and attract and keep talented entrepreneurs,” he says.

In the call, released by the advocacy group Protect NC Families, Clinton went on to say losing even one job as a result of the measure would be “too big of a risk.”

“So the real effect of the law is not to keep the traditional definition of marriage, you've already done that,” Clinton said. “The real effect of the law will be to hurt families and drive away jobs. North Carolina can do better.”

Clinton, who once opposed same-sex marriage, changed his personal position on the issue and made his decision public in 2009.

“I am no longer opposed to that," he said in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper. "I think if people want to make commitments that last a lifetime, they ought to be able to do it."

He added, however, he still believes it's a decision that should be left to the states.

Other high-profile figures have weighed in on the debate, including famed evangelist Billy Graham, who endorsed the initiative last week.

The 93-year-old took out full-page ads in 14 North Carolina newspapers touting his support for the measure. On his website, he encourages churches to download a poster that bears his image and the message "Vote for Marriage May 8th."

“Watching the moral decline of our country causes me great concern," the pastor said in a statement on the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website. "I believe the home and marriage is the foundation of our society and must be protected.”

- CNN Chief White House Correspondent Jessica Yellin and CNN Belief Blog co-editor Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.

Filed under: Bill Clinton • North Carolina • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (98 Responses)
  1. gt

    take the moral high ground bill....monica is listening...

    May 7, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  2. Another Day in the RW Idiot Mines

    "Whats wrong with people ? Homosexuality is not a choice! let them marry or whatever you want to call and lets "GO" a step further and release all child molesters after all its not a choice they can't help it and don't stop there if Mary want to marry her horse so be it! after all is that what democracy is all about!! free choices?"

    What an excellent example of what passes for "logic" among the mentally deficient, low-information followers of the GOBP cult. These people are completely unable to see the clear and obvious distinctions between a consensual relationship between two people and child molestation or bestiality. Apparently, when sex is involved it frightens them so much they can't think properly.

    May 7, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  3. meyuns

    lets not go over board and start making comments equating humans with animals and criminals with non criminal act. Issues have to be looked at defferently. You can not legislate sexual behaviors. The Supreme Being if you believe that there is one will judge all acts. Especially the acts of his followers who likes to judge and condem others.

    May 7, 2012 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  4. Larry IN Houston

    think if people want to make commitments that last a lifetime, they ought to be able to do it, and not be condemed for it.

    May 7, 2012 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  5. Billy, NYC

    I am still shocked by the igorance of Homosexuality in many states in 2012. Religious doctrine blind-folded many of theri followers. Legalize same sex marriage has nothing to do with destroying heterosexual marraiage. It is an human rights issue. Obviously, religion does not believe in "Eqaul Rights and Marriage Equality". The Christian Rights just want to scapegoat gays and turn a blind eye on the real issues that really harming marriage – lacking of confident of marriage. 50% of heterosexual marriages end up in divorce. Did allowing gays to get married cause the drop? Absolutely NOT. Go Figure!

    May 7, 2012 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  6. Randy, San Francisco

    Thank you former President Bill Clinton! Time for Southern states to join the 21st century.

    May 7, 2012 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  7. Mike

    Hey "Take a mile". A man can't have sex with his someone's 8 year old child because that is already illegal. This proposed amendment doesn't make that more illegal. And if you're really worried that he wants to marry his goat, then pass a law that specifically targets bestiality. But don't tell me that this is about wanting an inch and taking a mile because I don't believe for a second that you are worried about men wanting to marry their farm animals. What you are worried about is people who don't adhere to your definition of morality. Typical right-winger you are, all for limited government staying out of people's private lives, as long as you agree with their private choices. But as soon as their choices differ from yours, you want government to intervene to keep others from doing something that offends you. Would Jerry Falwell not have "sinned before my lord" if gays were prevented from marrying? Would Newt Gingrich not have cheated on two wives if gays were prevented from marrying? Would Bill Clinton not have had sex with Lewinsky if gays couldn't marry? Would John Edwards not have gotten another woman pregnant if gays couldn't marry? If marriage is under assault and our societal mores are on the decline, it isn't because some states allow 2 committed people to marry regardless of their genders, it's because some people can't honor the commitments they make to each other and that does not have a gender component to it. Be offended, I don't care. Be stuck in your ways instead of opening your mind, I don't care. But don't look to government to protect you from other people's private choices. Love your spouse and be kind to each other and encourage others to do the same, and don't worry about their chromosomes.

    May 7, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  8. Concerned in NC

    CNN, like most others covering this amendment, has not gotten the facts quite right. The amendment does NOT define marriage, nor does it only prohibit homosexual unions. See the text of the amendment below. We have already defined marriage in NC as between an man and a woman. What the the amendment does is state that if a couple is NOT married (gay or straight), the STATE will recongnize no legal rights under any other form of union, partnership, or whatever you want to call it. Let me reiterate: no part of this amendment defines marriage. INC law already does that. It simply takes away any other rights a non-married couple (gay or straight) might have. It is appalling both for its mean-spiritedness and its complete lack of clarity.

    The amendment wording:
    Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts

    May 7, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  9. yolanda

    Talk about an unwanted endorsement.....maybe John Edwards, that other guiding light on all things matrimonial, will weigh in as well. Let the effort succeed on it's own legitimacy, rather than having the usual blowhards trying to grab the spotlight.

    May 7, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  10. dewayne

    This will surely help. We in NC ought to live our lives according to Bill Clinton. (haha) If he is against it...then anyone with any morals should be for it...we know what else he is for!

    May 7, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  11. Al-NY,NY


    @9:48AM post............excellent and to the point. The tightie righties don't have a clue

    May 7, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  12. Bessy

    @ Mike
    Very well said. It is time that " gay bashers " moved into the 21st century. I am not gay but I hardly think it would be anyone else's business if I were.

    May 7, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  13. th

    Mike, you are absolutely right.

    May 7, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  14. Sniffit

    "maybe John Edwards, that other guiding light on all things matrimonial, will weigh in as well."

    Give it a rest. I hardly think the righties have anything close to the high horse after actually having an unabashed adulterer, whose hypocrisy went so deep as to be committing said adultery while trying to impeach Clinton for the same kind of behavior, run for POTUS this year. A man who was drummed out of office. Your faux outrage is pretty pathetic.

    May 7, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  15. Bessy

    If anyone is looking for a reason why folks are backing away from religion, and they are, just look at comments from people like " Jelly ". The old " fire and brimstone " to keep the uneducated on track. That kind of thing drives people away. Listen, Bill Clinton only has to answer to 2 people. Hillary and his maker, if you believe in one, when his time comes to meet him. Other than that, case closed. Mind your own damn business and stop preaching as to what is right and what is wrong.

    May 7, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  16. Rudy NYC

    Just as I Thought wrote on page 3:

    .........Well here is my question for all you Progressive thinking folks.....What About What God Thinks/Says? Oh don't believe He is Real!................
    It doesn't matter what 'God' thinks.
    It doesn't matter which 'God' that you are talking about.
    All that matters is that 'God' is not running this country, and isn't about to start.

    May 7, 2012 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  17. Ipso

    Let me guess? He called Jesse for more moral support?

    May 7, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  18. The REAL Truth.. (not the imposter)

    LOL – it's hilarious that the right wingnuts posting here think they have the corner/edge on "morals" and "family values". Isn't what this is all about...?? There's a pretty doggone lengthy list of Repugs who have failed miserably in that area, let are trying to legislate morality AGAIN !! Give it up folks..

    May 7, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  19. Paul in NC

    Let the people speak..this is a North Carolina issue and it is up to the people of NC to decide, if your not from NC then bud out. It is a states rights issue more then anything. The purpose of this law is so that NC is not forced into recognizing gay marriages from couples moving here form other states where they are legal like Massachusets etc.

    In other words we won't tell you in Massachusetts what to do don't try and tell us what do.

    May 7, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  20. ThinkAgain

    I don't understand why all these religious folks get so worked up about gay marriage. If their god is omnipresent and all-powerful, then won't all the practitioners of this "abomination" be denied entrance to heaven?

    That is, after all, these religious folks' only concern: The afterlife. Not how they treat others, not the here and now, just this endless obsession with themselves, to the detriment of everyone else.

    May 7, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  21. samuel

    World is going nuts.. we have alot of people loving their pets,their kids, their parents, soon enough people will be marrying their pets, their own dauther/son or their parents.. who knows !! why becz isn't it what matters is " Who do you love?"
    we see all these diseases with no cures, disaster (mother-nature)-hurricane, earthquake, floods, crazy amount of rain .. WHY?? b/c God is not happy with us.. agreed... we always have had those things coming up.. but now these its getting worst than before b/c when we go against god's command, his will, than it should also gets him angry and then here we go.. see what happened recently in Texas, Indiana, Illinois, all done with Hail damage.. flood, tornado.
    we all should ask God to forgive those for going against him commands, and will.. so the rest of us won't have to pay for it.

    May 7, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  22. Ken in NC

    I thought Republicans said they want "smaller government". I thought Republicans said they want to get government out of our bedrooms and lives.Oh well, I guess they were just more lies. I'm a straight man with no desires to partner with or marry another man but if a man or a woman wishes to partner with or marry in a Same Sex situation, it should be their choice.

    May 7, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  23. Larry L


    AMEN hamsta!! "The gay lifestyle is immoral unnatural and an abomination of God."

    In many religions eating pork, drinking alcohol, and even petting a dog is "an abomination of God". Since every single word of every religious dogma was written by men, not gods, the fears and prejudices of those men are reflected in the religious mythologies. Consequently, religion produces people who constantly want to "speak for God" and typically, the words are petty and hateful. Live your own life and quit trying to influence the lives of people who mean you no harm. Be kind and tolerant... your God might actually admire those traits.

    May 7, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
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