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Frank Rich: Liberals Haven't Always Helped the Gays


New York Mag's Frank Rich reminds us that liberals like Bill Clinton and even Andrew Cuomo have taken swipes at LGBT rights in the past.

As our country enters a new era of civil rights advancements and pro-LGBT sentiment, Frank Rich implores us to take a step back and think for a second.

In a piece for New York Magazine, Rich reminds us that we still have a ways to go. For example, LGBT people are still blocked from enjoying full civil rights due to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA.) However, he also reminds us that Republicans and religious zealots are not the only ones to blame for the existence of things like the DOMA.

As he says in the piece: "Liberal New Yorkers like me, whether straight or gay...would like to believe that the sole obstacles to gay civil rights have been the usual suspects: hidebound religious leaders both white and black, conservative politicians (mostly Republican), fundamentalist Christian and Muslim zealots, and unreconstructed bigots. What's been lost in this morality play is the role that many liberal politicians and institutions have also played in slowing and at some junctures halting gay civil rights in recent decades."

Among the people he calls out: Bill Clinton, for signing DOMA into law as a political ploy; A.M. Rosenthal, former editor-in-chief of the New York Times, for practicing homophobic behavior in the office; and even Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo, for aiding his father in a homophobic campaign against Ed Koch back in the late '70s.

Fittingly, he ends the piece with a call-to-arms of sorts: "While same-sex weddings are indeed a happy ending, they are haunted by the ghosts of many gay men, too many of them forgotten, who died tragically and unnecessarily while too many good people did nothing. Like Andrew Cuomo, those good people could yet make a big difference and, in the bargain, exorcise the multitude of past sins they keep hoping the rest of us will forget."

Photo: Getty Images

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