McCain Picks Little-Known, Anti-Gay Governor as VP

Today, presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Senator John McCain announced he has chosen first term Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his choice to be his Vice Presidential running mate.  Although only holding an executive, state-wide office for less than two years, Gov. Palin has already shown that she is a fierce opponent of equality.

Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd Palin, at her inauguration as Governor of Alaska

“America may not know much about Sarah Palin, but based on what our community has seen of her, we know enough,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “Sarah Palin not only supported the 1998 Alaska constitutional amendment banning marriage equality but, in her less than two years as Governor, even expressed the extreme position of supporting stripping away domestic partner benefits for state workers.  When you can’t even support giving our community the rights to health insurance and pension benefits, it’s a frightening window into where she stands on equality.”

When asked about the right-wing’s reaction to the choice of Gov Palin, the New York Times quoted Ralph Reed, the former head of the Christian Coalition as saying, “They’re beyond ecstatic”.

Highlights of Governor Palin’s Anti-Equality Record

  • Prior to being elected governor, Palin supported the 1998 constitutional amendment barring marriage for same-sex couples and has said she would support a ballot measure overturning a state supreme court decision mandating benefits for domestic partners of state employees
  • She is close to “traditional values” groups, like Family Research Council, because she is strongly anti-choice

Marriage and Relationship Recognition

  • Palin told the Anchorage Daily News that she supported the 1998 constitutional amendment on marriage.
  • In addition, she told the Daily News that she would support a ballot question that would deny benefits to the domestic partners of public employees, which were ordered by an October 2005 decision of the Alaska Supreme Court, because, she said “honoring the family structure is that important."
  • While she followed the Court’s decision and he also signed legislation –her first legislative act as Governor of Alaska—to put the issue on the April 2007 ballot for a nonbinding advisory vote.  This was the only issue on the ballot and that election cost the state taxpayers $1.2 million.  This measure passed, but the legislature did not follow the public’s advice and it chose not to take any further action to overturn the court’s decision.  
  • She did, however, veto legislation passed by the state legislature in 2006 that would have prohibited providing DP benefits to state workers, in defiance of the Alaska Supreme Court’s ruling.  She did this after the Supreme Court had already ruled and the Attorney General (Republican) advised her that the legislation was unconstitutional.  Palin went on to state that, as a matter of policy, she was in favor of the bill.

Ties to Anti-LGBT Groups

  • She will be honored alongside anti-gay Representative Michelle Bachman (R-MN) at an event at the 2008 Republican Convention, the “Life of the Party,” sponsored in part by long-time opponent of GLBT rights, Phyllis Schlafly.

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