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Clinton targets same-sex marriages

By Daily Bruin Staff

May 16, 1996 9:00 p.m.

Friday, May 17, 1996

Republican-backed measure to outlaw unions attacked by local gay
communityBy Patrick Marantal

Daily Bruin Staff

The legitimacy of gay marriages is currently under legislative
fire and could rise to the national forefront during the upcoming
November elections.

On Monday, Clinton reaffirmed his lack of support for gay and
lesbian marriages, a position he has held on the record since

"The President is against same-sex marriage. We’ll have to look
carefully at the legislation that’s under consideration in
Congress," said Mike McCurry, White House press secretary.

Meanwhile, members of the GOP, with presidential nominee Bob
Dole at the lead, are lobbying to pass HR 3396, the Defense of
Marriage Act, which would outlaw same-sex marriages.

If enacted, the bill would define marriage as the "the legal
union between one man and one woman," excluding homosexuals from
legally-recognized marriages.

Also, the term "spouse" would be limited solely to a person of
the opposite sex.

Many believe that Clinton will sign the bill due to recent
pressure from advocates of "family values."

"(Clinton) believes this a time when we need to do things to
strengthen the American family," McCurry said. "That’s the reason
why he’s taken this position."

Yet Clinton’s opposition to same-sex marriage and the proposed
Defense of Marriage Act creates insecurity among the gay, lesbian,
bisexual and transgender community.

"To speak in a non-partisan way, I am not surprised that Clinton
and Dole are using opposition to marriage to pursue their
candidacy," said Charles Outcalt, director of UCLA’s Lesbian, Gay
and Bisexual Studies Resource Center.

Others claimed that homosexuals are a fringe group of society
and should not be recognized legally as married couples. However,
they remain unsure of the rationale behind Clinton’s stance.

"I support (Clinton) on this decision about not recognizing
same-sex marriages," said Jay Wang, chairperson of the Bruin

"(But), he follows what he perceives is the mood of the nation
at the time," he added, concerning his indecisiveness on many

But opponents to the act and Clinton’s statement contend that
gay and lesbian marriages are no different than heterosexual

Furthermore, they argue that some members of the heterosexual
community simply do not want homosexuals entitled to the same
privileges as heterosexual couples.

"I get this impression that people are getting so bent out of
shape about us getting married," said Jill Tordsen-McCall, a
fifth-year English student who is getting married to her partner
this summer.

"The heart of (same-sex marriage) is that we’ll get all
privileges that heterosexuals get," Tordsen-McCall added. "Getting
married for heterosexuals means you validate your

Regardless of differing views on same-sex marriage, Republicans
are lobbying for support of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Still, members of the UCLA gay, lesbian, and bisexual community
emphasized their desire to be married.

"I can speak for many people in the UCLA community in (that)
they tell me they want simply the freedom to marry their partners,"
Outcalt said.

In addition to limiting marriage to heterosexual couples, the
bill would allow states a way out of the U.S. Constitution’s "full
faith and credit" clause, which generally makes laws of one state
applicable in another.

Basically, this would allow states to follow their own legal and
judicial proceedings in the arena of same-sex marriage, without
being forced to follow laws of other states.

Recently, the Hawaii Supreme Court sent the Baehr vs. Miike case
back to a state circuit court after deciding that a law outlawing
homosexual marriage can be justified only if the courts show a
"compelling government interest."

Legislation or judicial process in other states would decide
whether or not same-sex marriages would be legally recognized in
their state, if the Defense of Marriage Act is signed into law.

Supporters agree that the act would allow states the right to
make their own decisions, yet question how such policies would get

"I support the bill," Wang said. "I would support it because
it’s a question of intruding upon another state’s sovereignty …
The question would be on how to enact it."

In addition to the debate of same-sex marriages, many people in
the gay, lesbian, and bisexual community regard Clinton’s position
with skepticism.

"I think (Clinton) has been the first president to really
include gays and lesbians at the table," said Stephen Monkarsh,
member of the board of Lawyers for Human Rights. "For that, I
admire him greatly. But I think in terms of the marriage issue, I
think it’s unfortunate that he feels condemned to join the

Because of the implications of Clinton’s opposition to same-sex
marriages, many members of the gay and lesbian community are
saddened by his opposition.

"It’s political. It’s a hot issue. My feeling is that Clinton is
trying to avoid a political firestorm that the gays in the military
issue caused him in ’93," Monkarsh said.

"I don’t know what the ramifications of signing such a bill
would be," Monkarsh added. "(But) I think it’s really sad because
all citizens should enjoy the right to marriage."

With Daily Bruin wire service reports.

"(Clinton) believes this a time when we need to do things to
strengthen the American family."

Mike McCurry

White House Press Secretary

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