Bill Clinton Says Supreme Court Should Overturn Defense of Marriage Act

Former President Bill Clinton delivers is keynote address at a fundraising dinner for the Wendell Ford Government Center at the RiverPark Center in Owensboro, Ky., Wednesday, March 6, 2013. Credit: AP

WASHINGTON (TheBlaze/AP) — Former President Bill Clinton is calling on the Supreme Court to overturn a law he signed that bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages.

Clinton says the Defense of Marriage Act is incompatible with the Constitution. He says he signed the law in 1996 to avoid legislation that would have been even worse for gays.

Clinton writes in a Washington Post op-ed that American society has changed. He says he now realizes the law discriminates against gays and provides an excuse for others to discriminate, too.

​”In 1996, I signed the Defense of Marriage Act. Although that was only 17 years ago, it was a very different time,” he begins.

“As the president who signed the act into law, I have come to believe that DOMA is contrary to those principles and, in fact, incompatible with our Constitution,” he writes later. Then he adds:

When I signed the bill, I included a statement with the admonition that “enactment of this legislation should not, despite the fierce and at times divisive rhetoric surrounding it, be understood to provide an excuse for discrimination.” Reading those words today, I know now that, even worse than providing an excuse for discrimination, the law is itself discriminatory. It should be overturned.

The Obama administration has stopped defending the law in court, and the Supreme Court is expected to take up a challenge to it later this month.

Separately, the high court is also considering whether California’s gay marriage ban should stand.