Queer Voices

Matthew Shepard's Mom: Clinton Got 'Bad Advice' On DOMA

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton has endured significant criticism for signing the Defense of Marriage Act into law in 1996 -- and he has since had a complete change of heart -- but one of the most high-profile parents in the queer community says the legislation wasn't fully Clinton's fault.

Judy Shepard, the mother of the late Matthew Shepard, gave Clinton the benefit of the doubt on HuffPost Live this week.

"I personally think he just got some bad advice," Shepard told host Josh Zepps during a conversation about the upcoming documentary on her son. "I think in [Clinton's] heart, he wanted to do the right thing and he knew what the right thing was, but the political advice was not right."

Since President Barack Obama's "evolving" attitude on same-sex marriage turned into full-fledged support in 2012, DOMA has been overturned and society's acceptance of gays is at an all-time high -- 8 out of 10 young Americans now support marriage equality.

Shepard said she is "absolutely" impressed by the pace of change since her son's death 16 years ago, adding that electing Obama gave Americans "permission" to finally support the gay community.

"We knew we weren’t going to get very far with past leadership, but with President Obama, he’s a leader who understands social injustice and has his people around him who understand it too," she said. "So it became just a matter of the right message and the timing, and it’s just been incredible."

Watch the video above to hear more from Matthew Shepard's parents, and click here to watch the full interview.

Correction: An earlier version of this story noted that 8 out of 10 Americans support same-sex marriage. The actual statistic states that 8 out of 10 young Americans support same-sex marriage.

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