NEW YORK – 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.
Republican vice presidential candidate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin speaksduring a campaign rally in Loveland, Colo., Monday, October 20, 2008. [Agencies]
"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.
In the CBN interview, Palin also said she would speak out if she heard a supporter at a rally yell violent or threatening comments about Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee.
"What we have heard through some mainstream media is that folks have hollered out some atrocious and unacceptable things like 'kill him,'" Palin said, referring to a Washington Post story two weeks ago about angry supporters at a Palin rally in Florida. "If I ever were to hear that standing up there at the podium with the mike, I would call them out on that, and I would tell these people, no, that's unacceptable."
CBN released excerpts of the interview Monday and planned to broadcast it in its entirety Tuesday.
Palin also claimed religion and God had been "mocked" during the campaign, although she offered no evidence to support that.
"Faith in God in general has been mocked through this campaign, and that breaks my heart and that is unfair for others who share a faith in God and choose to worship our Lord in whatever private manner that they deem fit," she said.
Palin is a conservative Christian who was baptized and grew up attending Pentecostal churches. In September, Obama defended Palin's religious beliefs and said it would be "offensive" to portray her faith as strange or wrong.
Palin also reaffirmed her view that Obama had been "palling around with terrorists" because of his association with Bill Ayers, a 1960s-era radical who helped found the violent Weather Underground group to protest the Vietnam war. The group was responsible for bombings of several government buildings.
"I would say it again," she said.
Ayers and Obama live in the same Chicago neighborhood and have served together on charity boards. Ayers also hosted a house party for Obama when he was first running for the Illinois state Senate.