(CNN) - Gen. Colin Powell said Wednesday on CNN's "The Situation Room" that he supports legal same-sex marriage, either at the state or federal level.
"I have no problem with it," he said in the interview, which will air at 5 p.m. ET. "In terms of the legal matter of creating a contract between two people that's called marriage, and allowing them to live together with the protection of law, it seems to me is the way we should be moving in this country. And so I support the president's decision."
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President Barack Obama announced his support of same-sex marriage, a change in his position, in early May.
Powell's statements on Wednesday also represented a turning point in his own public statements on the matter. The former secretary of state was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when the military "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" position was implemented.
"It was the Congress that imposed 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' it was certainly my position, my recommendation to get us out of an even worse outcome that could have occurred," Powell told CNN's Wolf Blitzer, recalling former President Bill Clinton's support of overturning a ban on military service for gay individuals. After public opposition, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," was seen as a compromise.
Powell said he is aware of religious objections to same-sex marriage, but spoke primarily about it as a matter of public policy.
"I respect the fact that many denominations have different points of view with respect to gay marriage and they can hold that in the sanctity in the place of their religion and not bless them or solemnize them," he said.
He said he has "a lot of friends who are individually gay but are in partnerships with loved ones, and they are as stable a family as my family is and they raise children. And so I don't see any reason not to say that they should be able to get married under the laws of their state or the laws of the country."
In 2010, Powell said he favored a military repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and was in "full support" of Congressional action which resulted in the policy's repeal.
Powell, a moderate Republican who served as secretary of state under former President George W. Bush, sent shockwaves when he endorsed President Barack Obama for president in 2008. He said Wednesday that he is undecided who he will support this November - and as a private citizen, feels little pressure to announce his decision.
But Powell also voiced his disapproval over Romney's previous assertion, in an earlier CNN interview, that Russia is the United States' "number one geopolitical foe."
"I don't think that's the case," Powell said. "Foe means enemy. Now, will we have differences of opinion with the Russians? Yes. Will they get mad at us from time to time, and we get mad at them? That's part of the normal diplomatic relations."
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Orion7X – You're one up on me; there isn't a single Democrat that I can stand.
Powell is the only republican that I would have even thought of voting for POTUS. It's too bad. that he wouldn't stand a chance with all these extremists in the republican party. The ones that the teabaggers put into office don't want a decent, moderate republican for president.
and You WEre A WHAT! in the Military. How do you even dare to wear purple. Very very enlightening for US all.
CNN...stop campaigning for gay "marriage."
I used to like Mr. Powell untill this, now he can drop dead.
nobody cares, vast majority of men will not support this kind of garbage you can cry all you want
colon powell be ashamed of yourself. take of the tie its un becoming for YOU.
This lame nitwit needs to stop calling himself a Republican.
Colin Powell totally rocks. Oh, and although I approve of the concept of ohreally's response to Don, I think it's stretching to assert that the foolishness is a closet thing. And LolDems joins him.
Good for you Powell!!!
you are an embarrasment.
I guess Colin's colon has been taking a real beating to come to this conclusion.
Powell is a closet Democrat.
Hey Colin, have you found those mobile weapons labs yet? What an idi0t.
This goes out to ImALady!
Being a Republican should be considered treason and punishable by death!!!
Powell for president...? Seems like he's the only person with the experience, logic, and values that this country needs to reaffirm.
Hey yawn, catch up, the majority of Americans support gay marriage.
powell is just another puppet, saying whatever will get him another dollar and dime. oh, and where has he been hiding? suppose he thinks his fraudulent presentation of the "weapons of mass destruction" has been forgotten by the american publlic–he is probably right. but there are a few who remember.
At one time i thought he was a great person Not so Much anymore!
A guy named Colin that supports gay marriage. Does anyone else see the irony in that one?
Powell follows Obama, blacks stick together no matter if they are wrong or not. Color is ticker than blood, vaues.
Obviously gay marriage will be legalized. Current federal tax laws discriminate, and America tries not to discriminate.
Republicans should go back to squaking like Birthers "waaahhh he's not American, he really is an alien from outer space. Waaaaaaahhhhhh ... what do you mean he got re-elected in a landslide ..... waaaaaahhhhhh."
As a long time GOPer I am utterly disappointed that General Powell will not be running for President. I would absolutely vote for him in a second over Mr. Romney. I am going to either have to vote for President Obama or Gary Johnson (Libertarian) though I fear that the latter would be a wasted vote. I suspect I am not alone in my desire for General Powell to be on the ticket rather than Mitt Romney.
Why is anyone surprised?? Anyone with an IQ over 40 could not possibly justify being for discrimination and opposing civil rights, both of which opposition to gay people are.