The Log Cabin Club (gay republicans, not Alaskan homesteaders) believes that Palin's anonymous gay friend makes her an "inclusive" Republican despite her record of strong opposition to LGBT rights.
It's pre-emptive doublespeak. They label Sarah an "inclusive" Republican to hide the real problem - that her religious and political views are openly homophobic and the ticket is hostile to LGBT equality.
Alaskans know Sarah Palin's record against same-sex partner benefits, against same-sex marriage, and against LGBT civil rights. We're not fooled by the new spin. Don't you be fooled either.
This Blade article on the inclusive/divisive issue quotes Marsha Buck, co-chair of Alaskans Together for Equality.
'Inclusive' or divisive?
Palin praised by Log Cabin, denounced by gay Democrats
By LOU CHIBBARO JR., Washington Blade | Sep 3, 10:52 AM
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Republican presidential candidate John McCain's running mate, strongly opposes domestic partner benefits for Alaska's state employees, even though she vetoed a bill to block same-sex partners from receiving the benefits.
Officials with Log Cabin Republicans and National Stonewall Democrats, the nation's largest gay GOP and gay Democratic groups, offered sharply differing views this week on Palin's gay rights record as the groups jumped into the political fray over a vice presidential pick that surprised leaders of both parties.
"Governor Palin is an inclusive Republican who will help Sen. McCain appeal to gay and lesbian voters," said Log Cabin President Patrick Sammon. "She's a mainstream Republican who will unite the party and serve John McCain well as vice president."
But John Marble, spokesperson for National Stonewall Democrats, called Palin a "champion of anti-LGBT special interests." Marble noted her 1998 support of a state constitutional amendment approved by voters that bans gay marriage and her 2006 opposition to domestic partner benefits for state employees.
Palin, 44, is the first woman to be named as a vice presidential candidate by the Republican Party. She is a self-described maverick who shook up the Republican Party in Alaska by unseating a fellow GOP governor, Frank Murkowski, in the 2006 Republican primary and defeated a Democratic former governor, Tony Knowles, in the general election.
During her 2006 gubernatorial campaign, Palin revealed her approach to certain gay issues in a questionnaire for Eagle Forum Alaska, a conservative group.
Among other questions, the group asked, "Will you support an effort to expand hate crime laws?" Palin responded, "No, as I believe all heinous crime is based on hate."
She also answered a question about extending spousal benefits to domestic partners. That question asked, "Do you support the Alaska Supreme Court's ruling that spousal benefits for state employees should be given to same-sex couples?" Palin responded, "No, I believe spousal benefits are reserved for married citizens as defined in our constitution."
Another question asked Palin for her priorities "in relationship to families." The second priority she listed was "preserving the definition of 'marriage' as defined in our constitution."
The questionnaire also asked whether candidates would support funding for abstinence-until-marriage programs, an issue that hits close to home for Palin, whose 17-year-old daughter is five months pregnant.
Her response: "Yes, the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support."
Prior to being elected governor, Palin served as mayor of the Alaskan town of Wasilla, which has fewer than 10,000 residents. She started her career as a sports reporter for an Anchorage television station after receiving a degree in journalism from the University of Idaho. In 1984 she was named Miss Congeniality and first runner-up in the Miss Alaska beauty pageant.
She is married to Todd Palin, a native Yup'ik Eskimo who works as an oil field production operator in the state's oil rich North Slope. The couple has five children.
Palin's position on domestic partner benefits is being closely scrutinized by gay activists, with some gay Republicans praising her decision to veto a bill aimed at blocking the partner benefits from taking effect.
The benefits issue became a political hot potato in Alaska in 2005, when the state's Supreme Court ordered the state to provide the same health and pension benefits to domestic partners of state employees that were available to the employees' married spouses. The court's decision, which stemmed from a 1999 lawsuit filed by nine same-sex couples, found that the equal protection clause of the Alaska Constitution required that same-sex partners of state employees receive benefits equal to those received by married employees.
Palin won election as governor in November 2006. Under Alaska's election law, she took office in December 2006 — less than a month before a Jan. 1, 2007, deadline imposed by the court for implementing the same-sex partner benefits.
Shortly before Palin took the oath of office as governor, the Alaska Legislature passed a bill that defied the high court ruling by prohibiting the Alaska Commissioner of Administration from providing the health and pension benefits to same-sex couples. The legislature also passed a separate bill that called for a non-binding, advisory ballot measure asking voters whether the state should adopt a constitutional amendment overturning the court's decision on the partner benefits.
On Dec. 20, 2006, in one of her first legislative acts, Palin signed the bill calling for the advisory ballot measure, saying it would lay the groundwork for a state constitutional ban on the partner benefits.
Eight days later, on Dec. 28, 2006, she vetoed the bill seeking to block the benefits from being offered to same-sex partners of state employees, saying her attorney general advised her that the bill was unconstitutional.
"Signing this bill would be in direct violation of my oath of office," Palin said in a statement.
At the time of the veto, Palin reiterated her opposition to the court ruling on the benefits issue as well as her opposition to same-sex marriage.
"I believe that honoring the family structure is that important," Palin told the Anchorage Daily News in explaining why she opposed gay marriage and same-sex partner benefits for state employees.
The newspaper reported that Palin said she's "not out to judge anyone and has good friends who are gay."
Her strong religious views, which also include opposition to abortion, were the underlying reason for her opposition to gay marriage and same-sex partner benefits, she told the Anchorage Daily news.
In April 2007, Alaska's voters approved the advisory measure in support of a constitutional amendment to overturn the court's decision on same-sex partners by a margin of 53 percent to 47 percent.
Marsha Buck, co-chair of Alaskans Together for Equality, a statewide gay group whose members campaigned against the advisory ballot measure, said the 47 percent vote opposing the measure shocked many of the state's conservative, anti-gay advocates, who expected the measure to pass by a landslide.
"They expected the margin to be similar to the 1998 marriage amendment, which passed by a vote of 65 percent to 35 percent," Buck said. "It took the wind out of their sails."
One month later, in May 2007, the proposed constitutional amendment itself came before the Alaska House of Representatives and fell short of receiving the required two-thirds majority vote. Later that year, the proposed amendment died in committee in the Alaska Senate.
The amendment's lead supporter, State Rep. John Coghill, a Republican, has vowed to bring the measure up for another vote, although it has not yet resurfaced this year.
"America may not know much about Sarah Palin, but based on what our community has seen of her, we know enough," said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay advocacy group.
"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 workers."
Solmonese noted that the strong backing Palin has received from conservative religious groups like the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family, which oppose gay rights, indicates that she would be hostile to gays if elected vice president.
Marble, in a statement on the National Stonewall Democrats' web site, joined Democratic critics who have pointed to allegations that Palin attempted to pressure Alaskan state police into firing her ex-brother-in-law, who serves on that force. Marble also seized on criticism suggesting that Palin is unqualified to become vice president due to her limited experience as a former small town mayor and governor of two years.
"Sen. McCain is demonstrating that he does not approach the weighty issues of war, terrorism and the economy with heavy thought — as demonstrated by selecting a corrupt, first-term governor," Marble said. "The greatest requirement of a vice president is the ability to lead when called upon, yet Sen. McCain has selected a running mate who, only two years ago, had only tackled the responsibilities of a part-time village mayor."
But Palin's supporters at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis dismissed such criticism this week, saying she has more executive experience as a former mayor and a governor than Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.
Buck said the gay and lesbian Alaskans she knows don't view Palin as a friend of the gay community and are puzzled over press reports that Palin has gay friends.
"We hear from people in the lower 48 that she is somewhat supportive," Buck said. "We don't see that. We don't know who these gay friends are. We are thinking they must not be Alaskans."