There is no political topic that makes the Clinton administration seem like ancient history more than gay rights.
Friday's release of a trove of White House papers from the Clinton library, coming at the conclusion of a week in which a pair of court decisions cleared the way for legal same-sex marriage in another dozen states, depicts the last Democratic presidency as even more of a relic.
The big debate at the start of Bill Clinton's first term was whether the new president would order the military to end its long-standing policy banning gays, and amid a bipartisan backlash, Clinton struck a compromise resulting in the policy–now infamous in some quarters–of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
Among some 10,000 pages of documents that were posted online were hundreds of pages of legal memos on the proposed policy, as senior officials in the Justice Department weighed whether the new protocol would withstand legal challenges.
The documents also include 34 eye-opening pages of handwritten notes from a White House meeting during the first days of the administration in which Vice President Al Gore and Colin Powell, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, debated along with other Pentagon officials changing the ban.