Task Force Lambastes Clinton For Signing DOMA Action Called ‘Discriminatory And Hypocritical’

September 23, 1996

President Clinton was sharply criticized today by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) for his signing of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The Task Force noted the irony of the President signing the discriminatory measure against gay families in the same week that the mega corporation IBM and the City of Denver acknowledged the needs of such families. NGLTF also lambasted Clinton for signing DOMA "under the cover of night."

The following statement from NGLTF on President Clinton's signing of DOMA is attributable to its executive director Melinda Paras.

What could more underscore the wrongness of the President's action than the fact that he, himself, felt a need to sign DOMA under the cover of night. On the one hand, the President made a statement against "discrimination, violence and intimidation", while, with the stroke of a pen, he codified unequal treatment of gay and lesbian families. We find such action hypocritical and take great offense at his endorsing this discriminatory measure. Discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in the law breeds violence against them in the street. The President's signing of DOMA into law will expand, not lessen, the climate of hate and intolerance that the right-wing architects of DOMA have fostered. The President has greatly disappointed the millions of Americans targeted by DOMA.

How ironic that the President endorses discrimination against gay people, when major corporations and local governments are turning the tide against such discrimination. The same week the President signed DOMA, IBM and the City of Denver recognized the needs of gay and lesbian families by deciding to extend domestic partnership benefits to its gay and lesbian employees. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force regrets that America has a President who seems more concerned with polls than people.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is the oldest national gay and lesbian group and is a progressive organization that has supported grassroots organizing and pioneered in national advocacy since 1973. Since its inception, NGLTF has been at the forefront of virtually every major initiative for lesbian and gay rights. In all its efforts, NGLTF helps to strengthen the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender movement at the state level while connecting these activities to a national vision for change.


The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.