From the Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin says she supports a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, a break with John McCain who has said he believes states should be left to define what marriage is.
In an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network, the Alaska governor said she had voted in 1998 for a state amendment banning same sex marriage and hoped to see a federal ban on such unions.
"I have voted along with the vast majority of Alaskans who had the opportunity to vote to amend our Constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman. I wish on a federal level that's where we would go. I don't support gay marriage," Palin said. She said she believed traditional marriage is the foundation for strong families.
McCain, an Arizona senator, is supporting a ballot initiative in his state this year that would ban gay marriage. But he has consistently and forcefully opposed a federal marriage amendment, saying it would usurp states' authority on such matters.
As governor, Palin vetoed a bill that would have denied benefits to the partners of gay state employees. In a debate with Democratic rival Joe Biden, Palin said she was "tolerant" of gays and said she supported certain legal protections for same-sex couples, like hospital visitation rights.
Biden, meanwhile, said during an appearance Monday on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" that if he lived in California he would vote against a ballot measure that seeks to ban gay marriage. DeGeneres, who is gay and newly wed to actress Portia de Rossi, has urged Californians to reject Proposition 8.
"I think it's regressive," the Delaware senator said. "I think it's unfair, and so I vote 'no.'"
Biden added that he and Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, opposed a similar initiative nationally. In the debate with Palin, Biden said he supporters partnerships rights for gays and lesbians, although he also opposes same-sex marriage.