Friday, October 3, 2008

My Big Gay Vice-Presidential Nominee Debate, or Thank you for your tolerance, or Some of my best friends...

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. [Hint: It means that one man can marry one woman at a time. But since divorce is such a favorable option for the "straight ups," you can certainly marry more than one spouse throughout your goddamned, holier-than-thou sojourn on this earth with no penalty.]

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.

Thank you, Governor Palin, for not traveling the tacky road most taken and resorting to the typical paradigm of "some of my best friends are gay." Instead, you subverted any good sense you may have been born with and as an alternative simply stated that some of your best friends are indeed gay-bashing homophobes. What a diverse crowd you run with!

For Palin's real stance on this and related issues, I recommend On the Issues, where you can find links to her record, including:
  • Vetoed bill denying benefits to gays, as unconstitutional
  • Comply with same-sex partner benefits despite disagreement
  • Ok to deny benefits to homosexual couples
  • No spousal benefits for same-sex couples
Finally, I do acknowledge that Palin has shown tremendous growth since the time she listed as one of her top priorities, "Preserving the definition of 'marriage' as defined in our constitution." It seems with all of that executive experience came a crash-course in "constitutional" [sic] law.

And Senator Biden's major blunder on this issue was to conflate civil law with ecclesiastic practice. My dictionary--as well as Palin's "constitution" [sic]--defines those in opposition. So what Biden effectively said was that he will gladly allow a religion's (or any religion's) anti-homosexual prejudice to dictate what any queer American can and cannot do. (Just so you know, Senator, I'll gladly use my Second Amendment rights to protect my First Amendment rights.)


  1. One slip by Biden that didn’t escape me, but I haven’t seen any commentary on, is how, within the context of his declaration that he and Obama do not support gay marriage, he stated, “We do support making sure that committed couples in a same-sex marriage are guaranteed the same constitutional benefits . . . .” I realize this was a slip (a careless and perhaps unforgivable slip in that it lies at the very heart of the issue he was addressing), but if he can refer to “committed couples” as a “same-sex marriage” doesn’t that mean, or at least imply, that it’s all the same thing?

    Why is it that “support” for the rights of gay couples is limited to joint ownership and property rights? I used to not care about same-sex marriage. Never felt like I needed or wanted it. But now, this list of “rights” isn’t enough. If I’m not mistaken, the “rights” automatically granted different-sex couples instantly upon marriage go far beyond property ownership and hospital visitation rights. I want, expect, and deserve more. And as a constitution-loving American, I believe firmly that want I want, expect, and deserve are already a part of our “rights.” Biden and Obama need to stop taking the politically expedient path and acknowledge and honor the rights we all have. Show some balls for Christ’s sake.

  2. I think his "et cetera" was supposed to serve as an unzipped fly of sorts.