In an August 2006 the Anchorage Daily News reported on the social policy positions of the candidates then running for governor, including GOP Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin, Of particular interest are Palin’s positions on gay marriage and state benefits for same-sex partners.According to reporter Kyle Hogkins, Palin has said “she’s not out to judge anyone and has good friends who are gay.” However Palin supported a 1998 state ballot initiative writing into the Alaskan constitution a ban on same-sex marriage. The ballot initiative passed, making Alaska one of the first states in the Union to limit the access of same-sex couples to legal recognition of their relationships.
In October 2005, the Alaska State Supreme Court ruled as unconstitutional the denial of benefits to the same-sex partners of public employees. While Palin complied with a state Supreme Court order and, as governor signed a bill providing benefits to same-sex partners of public employees into law, she reportedly supported a ballot initiative that would have forced the Alaskan government to deny benefits to same-sex couples.
Even setting aside her abysmal regord on LGBT issues, Palin is an unfortunate choice for the Republicans in a number of ways: she takes the issue of experience out of the GOP quiver; she punctuates McCain’s advanced age (he turned 72 today); she raises serious questons about McCain’s judgement in thinking a small town mayor and first term governor is ready to be one hearbeat away from the presidency. But most seriously, Palin opens up the campaign to the issue of ethics, and that is one conversation the Republicans should avoid.
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