Friday, March 8, 2013

Bill Clinton, Gay Rights, And The Parable Of Steve

Bill Clinton just penned an editorial revealing that he's apparently discovered that the Defense of Marriage Act, which he signed into law, is in fact unconstitutional and wrong. In that spirit, let me tell you about Steve:

Steve has a beautiful house, a loving family, and an adorable collie named Mr. Sparks.

One night the Republicans show up on his lawn. They want to burn everything to the ground and kill the dog. Let's say it's something they found in the Bible.

Anyway Bill Clinton shows up. He argues with them on behalf of Steve.

"What you're doing to this man is
wrong, I tell you. Wrong," he says. He sounds concerned and full of silken gravitas. "Take everything in the house, if you must. But torching this beautiful place and ending a dog's life goes against our values."

The Republicans agree. The two sides of the government come together in a spirit of compromise. GOP operatives load all of Steve's belongings into their trucks and drive away. Clinton winks.

"Best deal I could get for ya, buddy."

Then the police show up. They don't need to talk to Steve about what happened, because Bill Clinton gives a statement for the investigators that sounds like a stirring call for bipartisanship. The cops are tearing up as they write it. Steve thanks Clinton, who shakes the man's hand and then leaves with his wife.

Steve takes the remainder of his family and goes back to huddle in their living room, which is now ice-cold, because someone wrecked the heating system, just to be mean. That night, Mr. Sparks runs away. Newt Gingrich sees him on a street later, and hits him with his car.

Obviously I miss that gray-haired old rascal as much as the next Democrat. And watching him transform his opposition to gay marriage into secret support for gay marriage is kind of marvelous. But the important story here is that Clinton's party changed over the years. Our current Democrat in the White House has made real progress toward equality. We no longer expect our candidates to say they're willing throw gay people a scrap or two, but marriage is really something that can only be between a man and a woman.

The party that sold Steve out is no longer around. But the party that wanted to burn his place down in the first place? The party that has spent decades loudly and proudly denying gay rights?

They haven't changed at all on that. They haven't changed about much else either. They're great on repackaging the same old hateful nonsense. But they won't see that they're wrong. Let's remember this for many years to come.

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