Flashback: Remember when Democrats swore they opposed same-sex marriage?

posted at 10:41 am on March 28, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Re-mem-mem, re-mem-e-mem-berrrrr … Dave Weigel takes us down Memory Lane with this video clip from a time long past when Democrats insisted that they opposed same-sex marriage, and Republicans were just big ol’ worry warts for attempting to amend the US Constitution to prevent judicial activism on its behalf. When did this take place? Was it the 1950s, with Adlai Stevenson insisting that their party would hold the line? The 1960s, with Henry “Scoop” Jackson in the lead? The 1970s and Sam Nunn?

Actually, it was just nine years ago, with now-”evolved” Hillary Clinton lecturing Republicans on just how much she’d suffered for defending traditional marriage:

Above, you’ll find a short video composed of the floor speeches some top Democrats made about SSM. At the time, Republicans wanted to block gay marriage in Massachusetts by amending the constitution with an official marriage definition. Democrats argued against that, but they didn’t argue in favor of gay marriage. They argued that DOMA made such an amendment unneccessary. They assured people like Rick Santorum that the slippery slope case for gay marriage was bogus.

The new Democratic advocates for SSM fall into two camps. The first consists of people who always liked the idea of this but worried about losing national elections. In his memoir, Democratic consultant Bob Shrum remembers John Kerry fretting that the Massachusetts Supreme Court had forced Democrats to talk about gay marriage before they were ready to. “Why couldn’t they just wait a year?” he asked Shrum, mournfully. The second camp consists of people who really do oppose the idea of gay people getting married. Republicans argued that this second camp was tiny, and that liberals were hiding behind it. They were right!

Of all the sanctimony and fauxffense expressed in this short video, this run-on statement from Hillary has to be the crowning moment.  After alluding to her public humiliation over the serial adultery of her husband, Hillary turns around and scolds Republicans for daring to suggest that she doesn’t take the traditional definition of marriage seriously:

“So I take umbrage at anyone who might suggest that those of us who worry about amending the Constitution are less committed to the sanctity of marriage, or the fundamental bedrock principle that it exists between a man and a woman going back into the mists of history, as one of the founding foundational institutions of history and humanity and civilization, and that its primary, principle role during those millennia has been the raising and socializing of children for the society in which they are to become adults.”

Now, one can believe in traditional marriage and also believe that it should be a state-level issue, which was the position taken by Harry Reid in 2004 — in large part by relying on DOMA, which he now opposes.  Even some conservatives at the time questioned the wisdom of pushing a constitutional amendment on this issue, and it had no chance of passing at that time.  But the scoffing at Republican concerns over slippery slopes and the real commitment of Democrats to traditional marriage is certainly instructive to see once again at this point in time, less than a decade after having been assured that they couldn’t possibly support same-sex marriage.

These Democrats obviously didn’t put that much stock in the sanctity of marriage, but they had plenty of sanctimony to offer.


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