Hillary Clinton insisted at the top of her voice on Wednesday that she is a heterosexual woman who has ‘never even been tempted’ to have a lesbian relationship.
The former secretary of State and two-time presidential candidate has been haunted for decades by persistent rumors that she is gay. In the meantime, progress has whizzed by the ghosts of gossip past, making LGBT candidates for public office less and less remarkable.
But on the Howard Stern radio show, she protested in a half-giggle that ‘contrary to what you may hear, I actually like men.
Stern had asked her point-blank to deny it: ‘Raise your right handâ€”you’ve never had a lesbian affair.’
She screamed: ‘Never! Never! Never!’
Being openly gay or bisexual isn’t a black mark against politicians in 2019. South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg is married to a manâ€”and polling near the top of the Democratic presidential primary pack this year.
But Mrs. Clinton married former president Bill Clinton in 1975. And as the future president’s infamous lothario ways asserted themselves, she had her own dalliances, one of Bill’s misstresses would later claim he told her.
Gennifer Flowers, among Bill Clinton’s more famous extramarital conquests, was one of his ‘other’ women for 12 years. She told Mail Onlineâ€”the previous name of DailyMail.comâ€”that Bill was well aware Hillary was bisexual, and didn’t mind.
‘I just know what Bill told me,’ Flowers said in 2013, ‘and that was that he was aware that Hillary was bisexual and he didnâ€™t care. He should know.’
Flowers also dropped a bombshell that later appeared in her tell-all book: ‘He said Hillary had eaten more p***y than he had.’
Another of the future president’s paramours, Sally Miller, told Mail Online in 2016 that ‘Hillary is a lesbian.’
‘I take him at his word and he told me she liked females more than men,’ Miller said then. ‘She was the child of a more progressive community. She was exposed to all the liberals, she was a flower child.’
‘This is what Bill told me,’ the onetime Miss America finalist added.
Mrs. Clinton waxed about her first encounters with Bill on Wednesday, telling the shock jock Stern that ‘he was so handsome, really handsome. He looked like a Greek god. He was very attractive.’
Gennifer Flowers’ story wasn’t the first to allege Clinton was attracted to other women.
The Globe, a supermarket tabloid, published a feature headlined ‘Hillary’s Gay Roommate’ in 2004, based on unnamed sources.
It told the story of Eleanor ‘Eldie’ Acheson, the granddaughter of President Harry Truman’s secretary of state, who reportedly became the teenage Hillary Rodham’s lover.
Acheson was her roommate for all four years at the all-female Wellesley College.
Bill Clinton appointed her assistant attorney general in 1993, keeping her in a powerful position for all eight years of his presidency.
She later served as then-Senator John Kerry’s LGBT liaison during his 2004 presidential run.
Political openness to LGBT issues is a decidedly recent development in the United States. Long before the 2015 Supreme Court ruling that forbade states from banning same-sex marriage, being gayâ€”or even expressing sympathy for gay rightsâ€”was a campaign-killer.
The first legal same-sex wedding in the U.S. took place just 15 years ago, in Massachusetts.
It was only eight years earlier that President Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act. That law edefined marriage as ‘a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.’ It also banned federal recognition of the unconventional unions.
Mrs. Clinton’s political career has been dotted with U-turns and hedging on gay rights, especiallly marriage equality.
‘My preference is that we do all we can to strengthen traditional marriages,’ she told the San Francisco Examiner’ in 1996, while she was first lady.
As she campaigned for a U.S. Senate seat in New York following her husband’s presidency, she insisted that ‘a marriage is as a marriage has always been, between a man and a woman.’
After she took office, she said in 2003 that gay couples should have legal rights under ‘civil union’ laws, but ‘marriage has a meaning that I think should be kept as it historically has been.’
The following year she declared on the Senate floor that ‘marriage is not just a bond but a sacred bond between a man and a woman.’
As secretary of State in the Obama administration, she said during a 2011 speech in Switzerland that ‘gay rights are human rights.’
Out of government in 2013 but building a new Democratic coalition as Obama’s heir apparent, she said in a video released by the Human Rights Campaign gay lobby group that ‘L.G.B.T. Americans … deserve the rights of citizenship. That includes marriage.’
Campaigning for the White House in 2015, she mocked conservative Republican Sen. Ted Cruz before a Human Rights Campaign dinner crowd, saying he ‘slammed a political opponent for marching in a Pride parade.’
‘He clearly has no idea what he’s missing,’ she joked.
Obama also evolved significantly on LGBT rights, but flipped and flopped back where he began.
In a 1996 questionnaire he filled out as he ran for the Illinois state legislature, Obama wrote that he favored same-sex marriages.
In 2008, as a presidential candidate, he tried to coax the support of evangelical Christians, saying: ‘I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman.’
Four years later, he publicly returned to supporting gay marriage.
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