Palin attacked over support for constitutional ban on gay marriage

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Hollywood star Ellen DeGeneres has attacked the Republican party’s candidate for Vice President’s support for a federal ban on same-sex marriage.

An attempt to change the constitution was backed by President Bush in 2004 but failed to garner sufficient support.

Senator John McCain, the Republican Presidential candidate, has previously said he thinks the issue should remain with the states and not the federal government.

Ellen DeGeneres, who married her partner Portia Di Rossi in California earlier this year, has attacked Sarah Palin’s stance.

“Basically, she wants to change the constitution,” Ms DeGeneres said.

“I don’t like it. I don’t agree! And maybe it’s because I’m gay that I think we should all be equal.

“I don’t know what people are scared of maybe they think that their children will be influenced. I gotta say I was raised by two heterosexuals.

“I was surrounded by heterosexuals just every where I looked heterosexuals and they did not influence…. I mean I dabbled in high school, who didn’t? Everyone dabbled, ya know?

“People are gonna be who they’re gonna be. And we need to learn to love them for who they are and let them love who they want to love.”

In her interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network Ms Palin said she had voted in 1998 for an Alaska state amendment to ensure gay and lesbian couples could not get married.

“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,” she said.

“I wish on a federal level that’s where we would go. I don’t support gay marriage.”

In 2004 President Bush endorsed a constitutional amendment to restrict marriage to two people of the opposite sex but would have allowed same-sex unions.

“The union of a man and a woman is the most enduring human institution, honoured and encouraged in all cultures and by every religious faith,” President Bush said.

“Marriage cannot be severed from its cultural, religious and natural roots without weakening the good influence of society.”

In her debate with Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden earlier this month Ms Palin said she was tolerant of gays and claimed to have a friend who is a lesbian.

Appearing on Ms DeGeneres’ TV chat show earlier this week, Senator Biden said he opposes a California voter initiative to ban gay marriage in the state.

During the VP debate earlier this month he said:

“In an Obama-Biden administration, there will be absolutely no distinction from a constitutional standpoint or a legal standpoint between a same-sex and a heterosexual couple.

“Neither Barack Obama nor I support redefining from a civil side what constitutes marriage.”

At 44, Ms Palin is three years younger than Barack Obama and 28 years younger than Senator McCain.

She was elected Governor of Alaska less than two years ago. Her husband Todd is a Yup’ik Alaskan native.

Her image as a hunting, shooting, snowmobile-riding outdoors woman helped boost her popularity in Alaska.

While she claims to be receptive to arguments about discrimination, she said she would support a statewide ballot question in Alaska that would deny benefits to homosexual couples.

“I believe that honouring the family structure is that important,” she told the Anchorage Daily News in 2006.

However, she later reluctantly agreed to follow the state Supreme Court ruling that same sex partners should receive equal benefits to heterosexual couples.

Asked about her views on homosexuality during a TV interview earlier in the campaign, Ms Palin stated that homosexuality is a “choice.”

“I am not going to judge Americans and the decisions that they make in their adult personal relationships,” she claimed.

Ms Palin said one of her “absolute best friends” is a lesbian.

“She is not my gay friend, she is one of my best friends who happens to have made a choice that isn’t a choice that I have made, but I’m not going to judge people,” she said.