Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton argued on Friday that policies like the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the “don’t ask don’t tell” rule regarding LGBT military service were meant to stop Republicans from carrying out even more extreme measures.
“I think what [then-President Bill Clinton] believed — and there was certainly evidence to support it — is that there was enough political momentum to amend the Constitution of the United States of America, and that there had to be some way to stop that,” Clinton told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow regarding the law, which defined marriage as being between a man and a woman. “There wasn’t any rational argument. Because I was in on some of those discussions, on both ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ and on DOMA, where both the president, his advisers and occasionally I would – you know, chime in and talk about, ‘you can’t be serious. You can’t be serious.'”
Because of that, the Democratic presidential candidate said, the law “was a line that was drawn” to prevent conservatives from pushing a Constitutional amendment through banning same-sex marriages.
“It was a defensive action?” Maddow asked.
“It was a defensive action,” Clinton replied. “The culture rapidly changed so that now what was totally anathema to political forces, they have ceded. They no longer are fighting, except on a local level and a rear-guard action. And with the U.S. Supreme Court decision, it’s settled.”
The law was struck down by the Supreme Court in June 2013, after being found unconstitutional under the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause.
Similarly, Clinton said, both military officials and lawmakers overreacted when her husband promised to let LGBT Americans serve in the military during his first presidential campaign.
“I’m not in any way excusing them,” she added. “I’m explaining them.”
Watch the discussion, as aired on Friday, below.