Pres. Clinton: Your legacy on gay issues is about the future, not the past
Please accept my apology for interrupting your speech at Netroots Nation. I was raised in the South, as you were, and my mother taught me better. But once in a while, the circumstances of history throw manners out the window.
I know you weren’t able to hear my full question. In a setting such as a convention hall, it’s not exactly conducive to a productive conversation. What I said was, “Mr. President, will you call for the repeal of DOMA and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell right now? Please.” See, at least a little of my Southern upbringing came through.
The moment kind of overcame me and I didn’t set out to interrupt your speech. But you need to understand that you have been an inspiration to me. You are what inspired me to become involved in politics. I believed you when you said to the gay community, “I have a vision for America and you are a part of it”. And I still believe it.
You are such a passionate person and I love that about you. When you heard me yell from the audience at Netroots Nation, probably all you heard was “DOMA and Don’t ask, Don’t Tell” and assumed that someone was chastising you for having signed them into law, but that’s not what I was doing.
Your defense of why you signed them was unnecessary because we all understand the politics and the reality of how it came to be. I wasn’t seeking an explanation.
I was hoping that you would take the opportunity to strongly express your support for repealing both of those laws and to help make it a reality. You are in a unique position to explain why now is the time to repeal them. You can help change the political dynamic and usher in the vision that you held in 1992 and that I believe you still hold today. Again, it’s just hard to express that when shouting a question from the audience.
Just as you said, pointing your finger at me “You couldn’t deliver me any support in the Congress.” Perhaps today you could help President Obama in his effort to be a fierce advocate for the gay community. I know your legacy is important to you and I hope you understand that it didn’t end when you left the White House. These issues are clearly important to you and you regret their being a part of your legacy. But you can be an important part of changing it and your legacy will reflect that.
So, I hope you’ll stop living in the past on DOMA and DADT and be a champion today and in the near future for their repeal. Will you leave the past as it is and help create a more fair and just future? I know you believe that it is the way it should be, but will you say it and become a champion for it?
The gay community will not be able to achieve this on its own. We need you more than we ever have. Will you be there for us?
With much respect,