Bernie Sanders

Sanders Campaign Press Release - Sanders Cites Early Support for Gay Rights

October 25, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders said on Sunday that he is proud of the progress made in the United States on gay rights since Congress, over his opposition, passed a law in 1996 that discriminated against married same-sex couples.

"That legislation was anti-gay legislation. It was playing off fears of a lot of Americans," Sanders said during an interview with Jake Tapper on CNN's "State of the Union."

The so-called Defense of Marriage Act denied federal benefits to gay married couples and let states refuse to recognize marriages in states where same-sex couples could legally wed.

"I think everybody at the time knew this was simply homophobic legislation," Sanders said on CNN. "I voted against DOMA because I thought then and I think now that people have the right to love those folks that they want to love and get married regardless of their sexual orientation."

The Supreme Court in 2013 struck down a key provision in the law and today gays couples may marry in all 50 states.

"The culture has changed radically. We have become a far less discriminatory society. Gay rights and gay marriage is now legal in 50 states in this country. We should be very, very proud of it. We have come a long, long way since that vote in 1996," Sanders added.

Watch Sanders on State of the Union:

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Bernie Sanders, Sanders Campaign Press Release - Sanders Cites Early Support for Gay Rights Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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