September 20, 1996:
On this day in 1996, then President Bill Clinton announced his signing of the Defense of Marriage Act, which outlawed federal recognition of same-sex marriage, and which allowed the Federal Government to ignore the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S Constitution and refuse to recognized valid marriages from other states. Clinton said that he signed DOMA to head off a federal constitutional amendment, but LGBT advocates and many in the political pundits agree that the act was less than a defense against a federal constitutional amendment and more a defense of his 1996 re-election campaign. Those suspicions were confirmed when the Clinton released a campaign ad in 15 Christian radio stations in conservative states boasting that he had signed the Defense of Marriage Act. After being found out and because of the response to loud protests from LGBT advocates, the Clinton campaign pulled that ad two days later.
In March of 2013 , Bill Clinton finally disavowed the Defense of Marriage Act entirely, urging that the law be overturned by the Supreme Court, But to this day while Clinton has never publicly apologized to the gay and lesbian community for the damage and pain that DOMA caused millions lesbian and gay Americans.
“President Clinton has evolved on this issue just like every American has evolved,” said Human Rights Campaign, President Chad Griffin
A little trivia for those who don’t know. Chad Griffin worked as White House Press Office manager for Mr. Clinton’s White House administration during the time that Clinton signed of DOMA.
It took the gay community almost 20 years and countless millions of dollars to undo the harm that Bill Clinton did by signing DOMA into law.
Clinton has never formally apologized for signing the Defense of Marriage Act into law.