STEPHANOPOULOS: You say you believe marriage should be reserved for between a man and woman. You voted for an initiative in Arizona that went beyond that and actually denied any government benefits to civil unions or domestic partnerships. Are you against civil unions for gay couples?
MCCAIN: No, I am not. But that initiative, I think, was misinterpreted. I think that initiative did allow for people to join in legal agreements such as power of attorney and others. I think that there was a difference of opinion on the interpretation of that constitutional amendment in Arizona.
Really? Wow. Here's the wording of Prop 107:
TO PRESERVE AND PROTECT MARRIAGE IN THIS STATE, ONLY A UNION BETWEEN ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN SHALL BE VALID OR RECOGNIZED AS A MARRIAGE BY THIS STATE OR ITS POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS AND NO LEGAL STATUS FOR UNMARRIED PERSONS SHALL BE CREATED OR RECOGNIZED BY THIS STATE OR ITS POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS THAT IS SIMILAR TO THAT OF MARRIAGE.
"Difference of opinion in interpretation" here means "requires attorneys, wheelbarrows full of cash, and more time than is available to you" when you're trying to convince a recalcitrant ER doc or ICU nurse to let you come to your partner's bedside before she breathes her last. Or when you're facing down an army of out-of state blood relatives who suddenly materialize after your partner's funeral to take possession of your joint property.
These are the kinds of issues straight people don't even have to think about, even when they, like McCain, are on second or third marriages after the first marriage was wrecked by their own infidelity. I wonder if that's why he was so twitchy as he stammered out this little gem:
I do not believe that marriage between — I believe in the sanctity and unique role of marriage between man and woman, but I certainly don't believe in discriminating against any American.Maybe "believing" in the sanctity of marriage is on par with believing in the divinity of Christ: you subscribe to it but know there's no way in hell you'll be able to live up to those standards yourself, especially when forgiveness is always just a public repentance away. By the same token, a stated belief in nondiscrimination is a blanket license to actively pursue legislated discrimination anyway. Apparently, when it comes to marriage and civil rights for people different from yourself, it's the thought that counts.
Perhaps mystified, George attempted to clarify:
STEPHANOPOULOS: Are you against civil unions for gay couples?
MCCAIN: No, I am not. [...]
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you're for civil unions?
MCCAIN: No, I am for ability of two people — I do not believe gay marriage should be legal. I do not believe gay marriage should be legal, but I do believe that people ought to be able to enter into contracts, exchange powers of attorney, other ways that people who have relationship can enter into.
I used to support this guy, back before he threw himself into the anti-gay, pro-torture, anti-Roe, pro-Intelligent Design camp. The Dems have to come up with someone who will flay this blinking, stammering, self-contradicting trainwreck of a man alive, although part of me hopes Giulani's candidacy will stay afloat long enough for at least one televised debate between the two.