Clinton to quietly sign bill banning gay marriage McCurry concedes his boss seeks to minimize attention

September 21, 1996|By Carl M. Cannon | Carl M. Cannon,SUN NATIONAL STAFF

BRANDON, S.D. REUTERS CONTRIBUTED TO THIS ARTICLE. — BRANDON, S.D. -- White House officials quietly announced last night that President Clinton would sign the bill banning homosexual marriage in the middle of the night after a four-day campaign swing.

After days of refusing to say when the bill might be signed, White House press secretary Mike McCurry made the announcement while the president was standing in the middle of a football field in one of the most sparsely populated states in the nation.

Conceding the president was trying to minimize attention, McCurry said the president would sign the bill after arriving at Andrews Air Force base at about 1 a.m. today.

Asked why Clinton chose this time, McCurry said, "Because the president believes the motives behind this bill are dubious and the president believes that the sooner he gets this over with the better."

Clinton, who campaigned hard for the gay vote in 1992, has de- nounced the bill as a mean-spirited attempt to bait him during an election year into vetoing the measure.

Yet he has insisted that because of his religious beliefs he feels that the law should only sanction marriage between a man and woman.

Republicans point out that the bill passed with overwhelming support, and that what prompted action were decisions in the state courts of Hawaii that appeared to put that state on the verge of legalizing same-sex marriage.

Pub Date: 9/21/96

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