When we first heard that Sarah Palin was named to be McCain's running mate, I put together what we knew about her record on LGBT issues, and it wasn't good. She did two things:
- She supported for Alaska's amendment to ban same-sex marriage in 1998.
- She vetoed a bill that would have banned about $300K of insurance benefits to the same-sex partners of state employees, released a statement that the only reason she signed it was because the courts had her hands tied but that she really, really opposes the gays, and then signed a law to run a non-binding referendum on those $300K worth of benefits. The referendum cost over a million dollars.
Later, the NY Times found out:
- She wanted the Wasilla local library to ban the book Daddy's Roommate, a book that helps explain having a gay parent to children.
So why is the media picking up the slack on her gay record? It should be cut-and-dry: she hasn't done anything to help LGBT people except when the highest court in the state forced her to.
Consider this from McClatchey News Services:
Palin considers herself a born-again conservative Christian. She supports teaching creationism in the public schools, outlawing nearly all abortions (even in cases of rape or incest) and prohibiting same-sex marriage.
After becoming governor 20 months ago, on the other hand, Palin didn't balk at implementing an Alaska Supreme Court ruling that ordered the state to provide the same benefits to same-sex partners it provides to married couples.
This from the conservative AP:
Palin had been in the running-mate field but as a distinct long shot.
She brings a strong anti-abortion stance to the ticket and opposes gay marriage--constitutionally banned in Alaska before her time--but exercised a veto that essentially granted benefits to gay state employees and their partners.
"She knows where she comes from, and she knows who she works for," McCain said in introducing her to an Ohio rally. "She stands up for what's right, and she doesn't let anyone tell her to sit down." He said: "She's exactly who I need."
And this from Glenn Beck:
BECK: Because she's -- because she's a conservative. Now, listen, we're very early on the curve on here. So I'm speaking here with just what I know at this point. But when you look at her on the surface, she is somebody who does defend traditional marriage. She opposes same-sex marriage. However, she is the first administration in Alaska's history to provide benefits to the partners of gay and lesbian employees. So she's not -- she's -- she's common sense. What -- too many conservatives have allowed the Republican Party to be shaped by people who are not common sense.[...]
Real conservatives have common-sense values, and they'll look at things and say, "OK, I believe in traditional marriage. But why would I stop somebody from getting, you know, benefits, they've lived together for 20 years? Would I stop somebody from their life partner going to visit them in the hospital? That's ridiculous."
And how about this one?
Certainly, we disagree with her view of marriage, we disagree with her effort to try to block partner benefits, though at the same time, she did veto a bill that [would have taken away] the benefits -- I know she said she [had to veto the bill] to follow the [state] constitution. Some social conservatives in Alaska were pushing her to sign the bill anyway. So she didn't have to do what she did in terms of vetoing the bill.
Bottom line is, there's a lot about her that remains uncertain. I think people have a caricature of her, and they're trying to read into it things about gay issues that haven't been shown to be true yet. We do know that winning this election is going to require independent voters, and I think Governor Palin is smart enough to understand that. And if she's seen as an extremist across the board then that's going to hurt this ticket.
Oops, that was Patrick Sammon of the Log Cabin Republicans. Did that talking point originate with them? (Media Matters has more examples of the media being deceptive about that veto.)
It's pretty much the best Teflon ever. The Religious Right will like her no matter what the media says about her since they know where she stands on these issues. And the media can work on low-information voters and independents to convince them that she's a maverick and a moderate, like they did with McCain.
On the one hand, they push that veto to show that she's a moderate, and on the other, she has her statement on that veto to show what an extremist she is:
"The Department of Law advised me that this bill... is unconstitutional given the recent court order... mandating same-sex benefits," Palin said in a statement. "With that in mind, signing this bill would be in direct violation of my oath of office."
The statement added, "The governor's veto does not signal any change or modification to her disagreement with the action and order by the Alaska Supreme Court. It is the governor's intention to work with the Legislature and to give the people of Alaska an opportunity to express their wishes and intentions whether these benefits should continue."
So she and McCain get to please both sides.
She's never done anything to benefit LGBT people - the credit for that veto goes straight to the Alaskan supreme court. And she organized a referendum on insurance benefits for same-sex partners that cost several times more than benefits did, showing that she valued stirring up homophobia much more than saving the state's money.
Is it really that complicated?