Clinton: Did I mention that homosexuality isn't immoral?

The senator tries to undo the damage done.

Published March 15, 2007 7:41PM (EDT)

Trying hard to undo any damage Hillary Clinton did by initially dodging a question about the morality of homosexuality, the presidential candidate's Senate office has just posted not one but two statements in which she puts some more distance between herself and comments made earlier in the week by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Peter Pace.

When asked Wednesday whether she -- like Pace -- considered homosexuality to be immoral, Clinton said: "Well, I am going to leave that to others to conclude." In the two statements posted on her Senate Web site today, Clinton acknowledges that her nonanswer answer has prompted some very unhappy reactions from the gay community.

"I have heard from many of my friends in the gay community that my response yesterday to a question about homosexuality being immoral sounded evasive," Clinton says in a prepared statement. "My intention was to focus the conversation on the failed 'don't ask, don't tell' policy. I should have echoed my colleague Sen. John Warner's statement forcefully stating that homosexuality is not immoral because that is what I believe."

In the second post -- an excerpt from an interview with Bloomberg News -- Clinton says she has "heard from a number of my friends, and I've certainly clarified with them any misunderstanding that anyone had." She said that she disagrees with Gen. Pace "completely" and declares: "I do not think homosexuality is immoral." Reiterating her call for the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," Clinton adds: "I'd like to follow the lead of our allies like Great Britain and Israel and let people who wish to serve their country be able to join and do so. And then let the uniform code of military justice determine if conduct is inappropriate or unbecoming. That's fine. That's what we do with everybody. But let's not be eliminating people because of who they are or who they love."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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