• Gay BlogAds


  • Gay News Watch


  • Chris Tweets



  • « Live-blogging the V.P. debate | Main | Evan Wolfson on Biden-Palin »

    October 02, 2008

    Palin and Biden on gay marriage

    Posted by: Chris

    Bidenpalindebateap_2 UPDATE: At the end of the post.

    Taking a closer look at the gay Q&A from the vice presidential debate (transcript excerpt below), Joe Biden was surprisingly strong in his answer. Moving beyond the bromides about hospital visitation and the like, he said: "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."

    In fact, Biden even went so far as to essentially declare the federal Defense of Marriage Act -- which he voted for! -- is unconstitutional. If in his view the Constitution requires that gay married couples be treated the same as straight married couples, then federal DOMA, which prohibits the federal government from giving any recognition or benefits to gay married couples, is unconstitutional.

    That kind of affirmative support for legal recognition of gay couples is a real rarity at a national level, and absolutely so in a general election presidential or vice-presidential debate. He even addressed the marriage third rail, saying that "committed couples in a same-sex marriage are guaranteed the same constitutional benefits" as straight couples.

    Biden was at his weakest claiming that the question of civil unions vs. marriage is a decision to "be left to faiths and people who practice their faiths the determination what you call it." Bullshit, of course, considering that civil marriage is something the government decides, and no one has proposed legislation that would decide for individual faiths whether to "marry" gay couples.

    As for Sarah Palin, it's unclear why Biden and the post-debate pundits think she was agreeing with Obama-Biden on legal recognition for gay couples. As close as she came was this: "No one would ever propose, not in a McCain-Palin administration, to do anything to prohibit, say, visitations in a hospital or contracts being signed, negotiated between parties." Not prohibiting is entirely different from guaranteeing, and she in fact echoed McCain's misleading rhetoric in this area.

    What Palin was really saying is that gays won't be stripped of hospital visitation and the right to contract if John McCain is president. Gee thanks. And through all her protestations of tolerance, she says she doesn't want to go "round and round" about what exact rights and recognition same-sex couples deserve. I wonder how her "dear friends" who are gay feel about her unwillingness to take that time.

    Responsibility for the muddle in Palin's answer (on this and other questions) faIls in part on moderator Gwen Ifill. Even with format limitations, I agree with Andrew Sullivan that Ifill was not effective, failing to follow up in a way that makes clear to voters the differences between the tickets.

    For one thing, she failed to note that Alaska's benefits for gay couples -- limited to state government employees, by the way -- was mandated by the state's supreme court and Palin backed a constitutional amendment to overturn that ruling.

    Here's the transcript excerpt from the New York Times:

    IFILL: The next round of -- pardon me, the next round of questions starts with you, Senator Biden. Do you support, as they do in Alaska, granting same-sex benefits to couples?

    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.

    The fact of the matter is that under the Constitution we should be granted -- same-sex couples should be able to have visitation rights in the hospitals, joint ownership of property, life insurance policies, et cetera. That's only fair.

    It's what the Constitution calls for. And so we do support it. We do support making sure that committed couples in a same-sex marriage are guaranteed the same constitutional benefits as it relates to their property rights, their rights of visitation, their rights to insurance, their rights of ownership as heterosexual couples do.

    IFILL: Governor, would you support expanding that beyond Alaska to the rest of the nation?

    PALIN: 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.

    But I also want to clarify, if there's any kind of suggestion at all from my answer that I would be anything but tolerant of adults in America choosing their partners, choosing relationships that they deem best for themselves, you know, I am tolerant and I have a very diverse family and group of friends and even within that group you would see some who may not agree with me on this issue, some very dear friends who don't agree with me on this issue.

    But in that tolerance also, no one would ever propose, not in a McCain-Palin administration, to do anything to prohibit, say, visitations in a hospital or contracts being signed, negotiated between parties.

    But I will tell Americans straight up that I don't support defining marriage as anything but between one man and one woman, and I think through nuances we can go round and round about what that actually means.

    But I'm being as straight up with Americans as I can in my non- support for anything but a traditional definition of marriage.

    IFILL: Let's try to avoid nuance, Senator. Do you support gay marriage?

    BIDEN: No. Barack Obama nor I support redefining from a civil side what constitutes marriage. We do not support that. That is basically the decision to be able to be able to be left to faiths and people who practice their faiths the determination what you call it.

    The bottom line though is, and I'm glad to hear the governor, I take her at her word, obviously, that she think there should be no civil rights distinction, none whatsoever, between a committed gay couple and a committed heterosexual couple. If that's the case, we really don't have a difference.

    IFILL: Is that what your said?

    PALIN: Your question to him was whether he supported gay marriage and my answer is the same as his and it is that I do not.
    IFILL: Wonderful. You agree. On that note, let's move to foreign policy.

    (LAUGHTER)

    UPDATE: The mainstream media coverage of gay rights is often confused and superficial, but the Reuters story just out about the vice presidential debate is particularly egregious. Even the headline -- "Biden, Palin agree on gay rights at debate" -- is mostly wrong. The only gay rights point they agreed on was opposing full civil marriage for same-sex couples.

    Reuters reports: "In an otherwise contentious debate, both Biden and Palin said they did not support civil marriages for same-sex couples, but both backed a range of other legal protections." In fact, as noted above, Palin was saying only that a McCain White House would not work to prohibit gay couples from entering private contracts of visit each other in a hospital; which is not at all the same thing as guaranteeing those rights through government recognition of same-sex relationships.

    "Such rights already exist in Alaska, where Palin serves as governor," Reuters goes on to mis-report. In fact, Alaska offers domestic partner benefits to the state workers, which means nothing to the vast majority of Alaskans who aren't government employees, and even for state workers, the D.P. benefits don't guarantee anything more than health and other financial benefits (which unlike those for hetero workers are taxable, by the way).

    |

    TrackBack

    TrackBack URL for this entry:
    http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d834527dd469e20105351c7d9e970b

    Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Palin and Biden on gay marriage:

    1. A modest marriage proposal from The Bilerico Project on Nov 20, 2008 12:00:45 PM

      Editors' Note: The following is a guest post by Chris Crain. Chris is former editor of the Washington Blade, Southern Voice, and gay publications in three other cities. He blogs at CitizenCrain.com and is the editor of GayNewsWatch.com. He lives with h... [Read More]

    Comments

    1. Hawyer on Oct 3, 2008 12:00:54 AM:

      Having watched the so-called debate:

      Let it be noted that Biden and Palin do agree on the central issue: homos are to be defined as 2nd class citizens and should not in the political context be extended the constitutional equivalent of "equal protection under law" so so-much for the fatuous distinction between the parties on gay issues - there is none.

    1. Strict Scrutiny on Oct 3, 2008 12:50:32 AM:

      I was disappointed as well. What irritates the shit out of me is the way both Republicans and Democrats talk about same-sex relationships in terms of hospital visits and the right to own property jointly.

      I expected little from Palin, so no surprise there. But why did blowhard Biden have to describe our relationships in such sterile terms? According to Biden, our relationships are little more than just the freedom to contract and the right own property together.

      When it's his own bloody family and his wife, it's about love and commitment and life partnership and sharing and children and whatever else. When it's gays it's about hospital visits.

      There is no question that Biden and Obama will be better for same-sex issues and civil rights. But this ticket better step up to the plate if they get elected, or I will seriously consider voting for a different candidate.

    1. Strict Scrutiny on Oct 3, 2008 1:27:58 AM:

      Chris,

      I think you were reading a too much into Biden's statement regarding DOMA.

      If he really though DOMA was unconstitutional, why didn't he just say that? Yes, he mentioned the constitution and equality, but if he wanted to say, "DOMA is unconstitutional and must be repealed," why not just say it? Why did he make such a vague reference?

      Also, if he really meant what he said, that same-sex couples would be treated the same as heterosexual couples from a legal and constitutional perspective, then why is he against same-sex marriage? If he really believed in legal and constitutional equality, he would be believe in same-sex marriage. But he doesn't, and he made that abundantly clear.

      In the end, you're probably right about the DOMA issue, but I'm just irritated that he doesn't have the political courage to advocate more forcefully for GLBT issues.

    1. Marty on Oct 3, 2008 10:52:55 AM:

      Dubbing LGBT relationships "marriage" is always what trips up the straight folks. As soon as they start considering the legal aspects that would bring government equivalency, they lose track of the business/taxable side of the reality and march in the views from religion and storied prejudices that guide them. There is a distinct difference between a civil union - which is what straight folks ultimately have until religion enters into things - and a "marriage" that is formalized by some sort of church service. This mixing of the two in their minds is what keeps them confused, even those who wish to favor us, because just as with sexual orientations they trip up when they are faced with what marriage is ultimately really about for them. For what that is, take a look at what provokes the battles in the average divorce. It is all legal matters, never those of faith.

    1. pridevoter on Oct 3, 2008 10:54:40 AM:

      We were overwhelmed and elated to hear the resounding ABSOLUTELY! comment form sen biden. we just made a video for youtube that we wanted to share ... feel free to look comment, link, add etc.. its all about equal rights and more importantly "when do we learn?" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRl7W3yPY3A or http://www.youtube.com/user/PrideVoter and watch the eqaulity vid.. thanks

      luv the blog btw
      perry& bill

    1. Hawyer on Oct 3, 2008 11:36:24 AM:

      You know when I hear Biden start that kabuki shit about hospital visits and contracts, but push us straight off the cliff at the mention of marriage --- it always makes me feel like a sycophantic schmuck for towing the Democratic line and my reaction is to kick his hair-plugged head and bleached capped teeth right through the TV.

      But my alternative is Miss-Assembly-of-God, Miss-Lip-Gloss-Congeniality, Sister-Sarah - who despite her lip service to having gay friends - tried to fire the Wasilla public librarian for refusing to pull "Pastor I am Gay" of the shelf. This little known self-published book by a former Christian preacher who reflects on the un-Christian pretext of demonizing gays, was summarily demonized by Palin's Assembly of God Church as liberal and devil-inspired. Accordingly, paritioners, Including Palin, were exhorted to rid the community of its presence.

    1. Scott on Oct 3, 2008 1:00:17 PM:

      CNN had a small focus group grade the debate while it was happening. There response is at the bottom of the video screen: http://tinyurl.com/54kdwf

      Notice how the focus group remained cautious until Palin warmed them up by saying she has a "diverse group of friends" and then all of a sudden the lines go up. The focus group needed cover to agree with Palin and Biden that gay people don't deserve any rights. The gay rights questions were the only ones where the males graded the answers by the candidates higher than the females.

      Please everyone tell a friend to vote NO on the anti-marriage initiatives in California, Florida and Arizona. Get the word out online on message boards, news sites, blogs etc. Donate if you can.

      Californians, Vote NO on Proposition 8
      Arizonans, Vote NO on Proposition 102
      Floridians, Vote NO on Proposition 2

    1. Gee on Oct 3, 2008 3:32:00 PM:

      The real issue is never addressed when it comes to gay rights. NEVER.

      The issue is that some people are born with an homosexual sexual orientation. Gays' brains are biologically different from heterosexuals.

      Why is this not at the center of the issue or discussion?

      Its baffling.

    1. Hawyer on Oct 6, 2008 6:47:58 PM:

      Gee ----

      RE / The issue is that some people are born with an homosexual sexual orientation. Gays' brains are biologically different from heterosexuals. Why is this not at the center of the issue or discussion?

      Well of course the kick-off homo question usually is: "Do you believe people are born gay or just wake up one morning with a taste for some dick?"

      Now - since I have never been anyone other than myself - that's an easy one for me to answer - and obviously it's easy enough for any straight person with a modicum of gay exposure - BUT invariably when you ask a straight political fence-sitter, the answer is: "Shit if I know?" And that's usually where it ends.

      But in my Gay-101 curriculum - I'm persuaded that the question is a red herring, intended to get an equivocal response in order to avoid taking a stand. Since equivocation begs the larger question: Are we a full-fledged minority - or just an aggrieved bunch of perverts?

      I actually heard a winger talk-show host here in Atlanta (Neal Boortz) opine that gays already have the same rights as everyone else - as they are perfectly free to marry someone of the opposide sex. Which is sort of like making Judiasm illegal and saying its perfectly fair, as it also applies to Catholics.

    1. Coach Outlet Stores on Jun 2, 2011 4:29:41 AM:

      Why is this not at the center of the issue or discussion?

    1. Visio Standard 2010 on Jul 15, 2011 3:59:49 AM:

      I really enjoyed this. You can look your article comments.I really appreciate the way you have written about this.

    1. moncle outlet on Jul 24, 2011 3:01:05 AM:


      Content of the article you write so well, so I benefited from

    1. mac cosmetics on Aug 8, 2011 3:17:46 AM:

      It is my great pleasure to visit your website.

    1. Moncler on Oct 26, 2011 1:14:51 AM:

      Today ,i look this article i find that it is a good .YOU are so great.

    1. Moncler Outlet on Oct 26, 2011 1:15:07 AM:

      OK,you have done well ,great you can write so beautiful ,thank you

    1. Moncler Outlet on Oct 26, 2011 1:43:17 AM:

      Today ,i look this article i find that it is a good .YOU are so great.

    1. Moncler Canada on Nov 17, 2011 3:06:40 AM:

      instead of a tractor

    1. ferragamo shoes on Dec 30, 2011 2:23:05 AM:

      Three people were arrested earlier in the week, and Longueuil police made the latest arrest of a 20-year-old man on Thursday morning.

    1. kaye on Jan 11, 2012 3:35:45 AM:

      i look this article i find that it is a good .YOU are so great.
      Buy WOW Gold
      Runescape Money

    1. ported barrels on Jan 24, 2012 10:07:26 AM:

      Their words are so strong!

    The comments to this entry are closed.

    © Citizen Crain - All Rights Reserved | Design by E.Webscapes Design Studio | Powered by: TypePad