Palin On Benefits For Gay Couples

Here she was last night answering the following two-tiered question to Biden and then Palin:

The next round of -- pardon me, the next round of questions starts with you, Sen. Biden. Do you support, as they do in Alaska, granting same-sex benefits to couples? ... Governor, would you support expanding that beyond Alaska to the rest of the nation?

Palin's answer:

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.

The clear implication is that she would favor extending healthcare benefits to same-sex couples across America - as long as that didn't approach the superior benefits and rights of heterosexual married couples. Quite how you do that is very hard for me to figure out (Do gays get to visit but not stay as long in the hospital? Do we get half the benefits? How do you give gay spouses lesser health benefits than straight spouses?) But leaving those nuances behind, here she is in 2006, responding to the same question, but giving a clearly different answer:

Her response (around 2 minutes in):

This is also important and significant in terms of what the voters said back in 1998 here in Alaska when they defined via the constitutional amendment what marriage is and marriage was defined as traditional  - one-man-one-woman would constitute a marriage - and inherent in that constitutional amendment was, I believe, the reference to benefits.

When asked if she would support clarifying the amendment to bar healthcare benefits to gay couples, she replied:

It's tough to say what I would do today not having all that information that governor Murkowski had in front of him when he called that so it's tough in a hypothetical to answer that but what I do know is that inherent in that question that was asked in the ballot box that a majority of Alaskans voted for and approved in a constitutional amendment I think was a reference to benefits. So I think what this will lead to is a clarification of that constitutional amendment.

I don't see any way to interpret that except that she wanted to deny healthcare benefits to gay couples because such benefits belonged to heterosexual married couples alone. But there's one way to clear this up. The campaign should now answer the following question:

Do governor Palin and Senator McCain believe that gay couples in civil marriages or civil unions should have the same healthcare benefits as straight, married couples? Yes or no?

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

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