Mrs. Clinton endorses gay adoption, quietly
By Michael M. Bates
Struggling with Senator Barack Obama for black votes, Hillary Clinton acquitted herself well in Selma the other day. That Southern drawl she's suddenly developed assures her a job with any future revival of "Hee Haw" if her presidential ambitions are quashed.
Not so widely covered by the mainstream media was a speech Senator Clinton delivered two days earlier. She spoke before 400 members of the Human Rights Campaign, which boasts it's the nation's largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization. Hillary was gushing with enthusiasm for the HRC: "I love the fact it's my initials, have you ever noticed that?"
She's proud to stand with the Human Rights Campaign, she told them. Apparently not, however, proud enough to publicize her address to the group. The Associated Press reported that when she was asked last Monday why she didn't advertise the speech, as is usually done, Mrs. Clinton responded, "You'll have to ask my campaign."
The liberal double standard is wondrous to behold. George W. Bush is directly responsible for the misdeeds of any soldier anywhere in the world. Yet when one of their own is challenged, liberals immediately shift into full Sergeant Schultz "I know nothing . . . nothing!" mode. This, despite the fact that Hillary's campaign isn't quite as large as the U.S. military. Although it may spend more. Private detectives can be so very expensive.
The Human Rights Campaign posted a video of Hillary's talk on YouTube.com. She began by congratulating the organization for the fabulous job it did in giving the country Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid. They saved the Republic from a fate worse than death, two more years of GOP control of Congress.
She extended kudos for helping to defeat last year's Federal Marriage Amendment, which would have (close your eyes here, children) defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
The proposal, said Hillary, was wedge politics at its worst. It runs against the entire forward movement of American history. Moreover, it was mean spirited.
Both HRC the person and HRC the organization routinely charge that something, or somebody, is mean spirited. In 2003, a Human Rights Campaign spokesperson termed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) "a mean spirited attack on gay families." The bill denied Federal acknowledgment of same-sex marriages and permitted states to not recognize same-sex marriages licensed in other states.
In her speech, Mrs. Clinton didn't mention DOMA, possibly because it was signed by Mr. Clinton when he was president. The senator has subsequently voiced her support for the law. Looking now to keep an important constituency happy, Hillary's changing her story.
Former Clinton advisor Dick Morris has written that the Clintons' interest in DOMA came after polling data suggested strong public approval. Her support, she claims, wasn't based on that. Rather, it was a clever plan to derail a constitutional amendment that would have banned gay marriages. Sure, I believe that.
The senator detailed for the HRC crowd her opposition to her husband's failed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, her backing of legislation prohibiting employment discrimination and her hatred of hate crimes.
Then she said something I haven't heard her say on TV: "We're going to make sure that nothing stands in the way of loving couples, gay or straight, who want to adopt children."
Gay adoption is the new front. The battle against civil unions or gay marriages has pretty well been decided. It's no longer a question of if; the remaining questions are when and how the laws will be structured.
Still, many Americans – a majority according to some polls – oppose gay adoption. For Mrs. Clinton to have so softly expressed her support for gay adoption suggests she knows her endorsement could prove risky, at least in a general election.
Courting gay activists is essential for any Democratic candidate and the senator ended her talk by speaking of those she believes need a voice:
"The boy who is afraid to walk down the hallway at school. The devoted partner barred from the hospital bedside of the woman she loves. And all those who still go about their daily lives in silence, unable to acknowledge who they are and who they love.
"For more than 25 years you at the Human Rights Campaign have been their voice and I am proud to stand by your side. I want you to know that just as you always have an open door to my Senate office, you will always have an open door to the White House."
After seeing how she's tried keeping her speech and its support for gay adoption under the radar, you have to wonder whether or not it'll be the front door that's always open.
This Michael Bates column appeared in the March 8, 2007 Reporter Newspapers.
Get weekly updates about new issues of ESR!