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October 10, 2008

Palin and Biden have same idea for full marriage: No


St. Louis--Vice presidential candidates Sarah Palin and Joe Biden gave the same answer to the question “Do you support gay marriage?” at the October 2 vice presidential debate. The answer was “no.”

The question, which was a follow-up to Democrat Joe Biden by moderator Gwen Ifill, blurred the distinction between the campaigns for many with regard to LGBT rights.

Neither the Democratic ticket of Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden nor the Republican ticket of Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin believe in marriage equality for LGBT Americans.

Obama and Biden oppose only full marriage.

McCain and Palin have a longer list of rights they oppose, including military service, immigration equality and benefits. McCain supported Arizona’s 2006 attempt to pass a marriage ban amendment to its constitution, and Palin questioned an Alaska librarian about removing LGBT-themed books from the shelves when she was mayor of Wasilla.

However, due to the Democrats’ equivocation on marriage, Palin was able to frame the debate in a way that made her sound LGBT-friendly, record notwithstanding.

“Do you support, as they do in Alaska, granting same-sex benefits to couples?” Ifill asked Biden.

“Absolutely. Do I support granting same-sex benefits? Absolutely positively. Look, in an Obama-Biden administration, there will be absolutely no distinction from a constitutional standpoint or a legal standpoint between a same-sex and a heterosexual couple,” answered Biden, setting up Ifill’s follow-up.

“No. Barack Obama nor I support redefining from a civil side what constitutes marriage. We do not support that,” Biden answered.

Biden then sidestepped the marriage issue by saying, “There should be no civil rights distinction, none whatsoever, between a committed gay couple and a committed heterosexual couple.”

That is already the case in all 50 states so long as the “committed heterosexual couple” is not married, a fact Biden ignored.

Palin answered the first question about expanding Alaska’s benefits to the rest of the nation by saying, “Well, not if it goes closer and closer towards redefining the traditional definition of marriage between one man and one woman. And unfortunately that’s sometimes where those steps lead.”

Palin insisted she is “tolerant of adults in America choosing their partners,” but “But I’m being as straight up with Americans as I can in my non-support for anything but a traditional definition of marriage.”

“Your question to [Biden] was whether he supported gay marriage and my answer is the same as his and it is that I do not,” Palin said.

“Wonderful. You agree. On that note, let’s move to foreign policy,” said Ifill to audience laughter.

The first criticism of Biden came from San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat.

“I’d be lying to you and misleading you and patronizing you as a Democratic club that I was particularly proud of the only thing that Sarah Palin and Joe Biden agreed on is the notion that gay people should only run the 90-year dash on equality,” Newsom told the Long Beach Lambda Democratic Club two days later.

“Sarah Palin agreed with Joe Biden,” Newsom continued. “It’s one thing for Sarah Palin--a proud cultural conservative. But it was very frustrating for someone who has done fundraisers for Senator Biden.”

That somehow today, our party leadership is arguing that separate is now somehow equal, but only for the gay community,” Newsom said, “That’s wrong. And we’ve got to call them out on it. We have to stand up on it.”




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