The Time Bill Clinton Told John Kerry To Support Gay Marriage Bans

It wasn’t that long ago.

The Messenger-Inquirer, Gary Emord-Netzley / AP

Last week, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came out in support of same-sex marriage tying her support to her service as secretary of state in a video for the Human Rights Campaign. Clinton followed in the footsteps of her husband, who four years earlier announced his own support same-sex marriage, and regret for signing the Defense of Marriage Act into law.

But as late as the 2004 presidential election, Clinton was advocating that John Kerry support local gay marriage bans to pick off Bush votes in red states according to reports from Newsweek and political consultant Bob Shrum.

“Clinton, Kerry reported at the time, did suggest blunting Bush’s appeal to cultural conservatives with a reprise of Clinton’s Sister Souljah moment in 1992 when he’d denounced her call for violence against whites — and done it as conspicuously as possible in front of Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition,” Shrum wrote in his 2008 book No Excuses: Concessions of a Serial Campaigner.

“Kerry, Clinton ventured, should consider defying Democratic interest groups by endorsing the Bush proposal for a federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.”

Shrum added that it was “this was a flip-flop too far for Kerry.”

A Clinton spokesman denied the reports to the New York Times saying it was “completely false.”

But Shrum stood by the account in an email to BuzzFeed saying “I entirely stand by what I wrote.”

And as the Supreme Court hears two potentially historic cases for same-sex marriage rights this week, Clinton’s own legacy in hangs in the balance.

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