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Palin Says McCain
White House Will Be Tolerant of Gay Rights

Palin Says McCain
White House Will Be Tolerant of Gay Rights

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As the pundits continue to weigh in on Alaska governor Sarah Palin's performance in Thursday night's vice presidential debate -- most agreeing that while she managed to repair a bit of the damage she'd done to her own reputation, nothing to come out of the debate proved to be a major game-changer -- one particular exchange between Palin and Sen. Joe Biden would seem to leave audiences flustered. Does Sarah Palin support gay rights?

As the pundits continue to weigh in on Alaska governor Sarah Palin's performance in Thursday night's vice presidential debate -- most agreeing that while she managed to repair a bit of the damage she'd done to her own reputation, nothing to come out of the debate proved to be a major game-changer -- one particular exchange between Palin and Sen. Joe Biden would seem to leave her backers flustered.

Does Sarah Palin support gay rights?

Though much attention has been paid to Palin's veto of a bill that would have blocked benefits being provided to the same-sex partners of state employees in Alaska, Palin has since admitted she did so because it was deemed unconstitutional.

She followed the ruling with a clear statement of her personal viewpoint -- that she did not believe in the extension of benefits. Similar opinions on gay-related topics followed, and amid news reports Palin worshipped at a Wasilla, Alaska, church that sponsored a prayer event aimed at converting gay people to straight, one would assume she does not support gay rights.

But in Thursday's debate, moderated by PBS's Gwen Ifill, Palin's position on gay rights seemed to maneuver a bit closer to that of the Obama-Biden campaign.

Predictably, both vice presidential hopefuls agreed they do not support same-sex marriage. But while Biden said that in a Barack Obama administration gays and lesbians would be granted equal rights, Palin didn't disagree, though her answer was vague.

"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...some very dear friends who don't agree with me on this issue," Palin said in Thursday's debate, according to a transcript by The New York Times. "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."

Later, Biden attempted to nudge Palin's support of gay rights a bit further.

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

Not taking the bait, Palin simply restated her position on gay marriage -- it's not something she or McCain supports.

Video coverage of the candidates discussing the topic of gay rights, along with the rest of the vice presidential debate, can be viewed at CNN.com/Videos. (The Advocate)

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