Obama and McCain both oppose gay marriage, split on abortion

Ann Turner | August 20, 2008

Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain both appeared over the weekend at an event geared to Christian voters to discuss issues ranging from abortion to gay marriage. During speeches geared to appeal to evangelical voters, both candidates expressed the opinion that marriage should remain between a ‘man and a woman’ only.

While Obama stated he opposes a federal ban on same-sex marriage, McCain indicated he would support a constitutional ban if states were required to recognize such marriages from other states.

This weekend, Barack Obama and John McCain made a rare appearance together at the Saddleback Church in California, led by Pastor Rick Warren, to share their views on a diverse range of topics of interest to evangelical voters. Among the topics discussed at the event, which was broadcast on CNN, were abortion, adoption, American morality and gay marriage.

Both candidates clearly expressed their belief that marriage should remain an institution available only to heterosexual couples. When asked to specifically define his views on marriage, Obama stated that he believes “that marriage is the union between a man and a woman.” “Now, for me as a Christian, it’s also a sacred union. God’s in the mix,” he added.

Obama said, however, that he would not support a federal constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Instead, he reaffirmed his belief that regulation of marriage should remain on the state level. In addition, Obama said that he does “believe in civil unions” and feels gay and lesbian couples should share many of the same rights of straight couples.

McCain also stated that he does not currently support a federal ban on gay marriage, but that his opinion on that issue could change. McCain repeated his previously stated belief that marriage should be “a union between man and a woman, between one man and one woman.”

Though he does not support marriage equality for gay couples, McCain stated, like Obama, that such decisions should remain in the hands of the states. But, if a federal court should force one state to recognize same-sex marriages from another state, McCain said he would then support a constitutional amendment to prevent such an action.

The Republican presidential nominee was quick to clarify, however, that he does not feel that gay couples “don’t have the rights of all citizens.” “I’m not saying that,” McCain stated. “I am saying that we should preserve the unique status of marriage between one man and one woman.”

McCain also said during his speech that he felt the California Supreme Court had made the wrong decision in overturning the Proposition 8 voter’s initiative that previously banned same-sex marriage in the state.

On the issue of abortion, another hot topic for evangelical voters, Obama said that while he supports legalized abortion, he would limit the ability to obtain late-term abortions unless there was a concern for the mother’s health. Obama said it was the government’s responsibility to do more to prevent unwanted pregnancies and offer women more options and resources if they choose to give birth.

McCain, who is firmly anti-abortion, stated simply that he believes life begins at conception. McCain, who has an adopted daughter, stated that he believes the process of adoption should be made easier to help encourage more women to give birth to unwanted children.

However, allowing easier access to gay and lesbian couples to adopt children is not part of his plan. McCain told the New York Times in July that he does not “believe in gay adoption” even if the alternative would be “the kid staying in an orphanage, or not having parents.”

McCain’s campaign Director of Communications, Jill Hazelbaker, later issued a ‘clarification’ of the Republican candidate’s stance on gay adoption saying: “McCain could have been clearer in the interview in stating that his position on gay adoption is that it is a state issue… He was not endorsing any federal legislation.” – Issued by Gay Link Content

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