Bill Clinton credits daughter Chelsea for reversing his views on gay marriage

The former president was honored at the GLAAD awards for advocating against DOMA

Published April 22, 2013 3:26PM (EDT)

Former president Bill Clinton, who first signed the Defense of Marriage Act into effect in 1996, has changed his opinion on gay marriage. In March, Clinton wrote an editorial in the Washington Post urging the Supreme Court to overturn the decision, writing, "As the president who signed the act into law, I have come to believe that DOMA is contrary to those principles and, in fact, incompatible with our Constitution."

GLAAD acknowledged the former president's evolved views on marriage equality and subsequent activism with its Advocate for Change Award, presented to Clinton over the weekend.

During the speech, Clinton reiterated his desire to overturn DOMA, essentially admitting that it was a mistake to sign the law:
"I want to keep working on this until not only is DOMA no longer the law of the land, but until all people - no matter where they live - can marry the people they love," he said.

He continued: "And over the years, I was forced to confront the fact that people who oppose equal rights for gays in the marriage sphere are basically acting out of concerns for their own identity, not out of respect for anyone else."

Clinton credits his daughter, Chelsea Clinton, for helping change his beliefs on marriage equality:

"My daughter led me to support the marriage equality law in New York when we were debating it, and to oppose North Carolina's denial of marriage equality, and to do all these other things. So I want to thank her too. Thank you, GLAAD. Thank you, Chelsea."

By Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at

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Bill Clinton Chelsea Clinton Doma Gay Marriage Gay Rights Glaad Marriage Equality Video