Highlight of the Vice Presidential Debate

I haven’t got through all the spin of the VP debate this morning, but I did watch the debate, and listen to the quick summation provided by the Public Broadcasting news team.  They mentioned Palin’s “folksy” manner and Joe Biden’s slight choking up when he mentioned his family.

But for me, here’s the best bit of the evening, the thing I hadn’t heard this straight from a national politician before without “umms” and “ahhs” and a lot of blinking and qualifying and dancing around:

IFILL: The next round of — pardon me, the next round of questions starts with you, Senator Biden. Do you support, as they do in Alaska, granting same-sex benefits to couples?

BIDEN: Absolutely. Do I support granting same-sex benefits? Absolutely positively. Look, 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.

The fact of the matter is that under the Constitution we should be granted — same-sex couples should be able to have visitation rights in the hospitals, joint ownership of property, life insurance policies, et cetera. That’s only fair.

It’s what the Constitution calls for. And so we do support it. We do support making sure that committed couples in a same-sex marriage are guaranteed the same constitutional benefits as it relates to their property rights, their rights of visitation, their rights to insurance, their rights of ownership as heterosexual couples do. [Transcript from Washington Post 2-10-08]

Biden looked directly at the camera during this discussion. There were no if’s, and’s, and but’s. It was the strongest declaration of gay rights being no different from basic rights of all people that I have heard. It gave me chills. It made me hope. It made me say, knowing exactly how corny I was being, that “this is change I can believe in.”

Palin’s response brought up the definition of marriage issue right off the bat–she danced forward and back, all the while claiming how “tolerant” she is, and how (in so many words) a lot of her friends are basically haters, but she’s not. That she has friends from “all over the political spectrum.” Notice she didn’t say “all over the sexual orientation spectrum”–but it’s probably because they “prayed the gay away.”


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Matt on October 3, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    Tolerance is not a comforting word, either. I don’t want to be tolerated. I don’t expect her acceptance since she can’t get around the idea that gayness is not (for the majority of those who identify as such) a choice. But one who is willing to merely tolerate is not going to go out of their way to ensure my rights are protected. I know, I know, I’m singing to the choir here, but that word alone grates on me about as bad as “maverick”. Kudos to Biden for tearing down that straw man. The one time I actually cheered during the debate.

  2. Posted by flyingtomato on October 3, 2008 at 1:15 pm


    Yeah, at that point I joked to H. that under Obama-Biden maybe even opposite-sex couples won’t have to get married to get those rights he describes.

    Biden also made a comment about leaving marriage to the churches that I found refreshing. They can “defend marriage” all they want there, and let the rest of us consenting adults enjoy our basic rights and freedoms to be with who we want, how we want.


  3. Posted by flyingtomato on October 3, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    Thanks, Matt, for the excellent link!

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