May 23rd, 2012
03:27 PM ET
2 years ago

Powell favors same-sex marriage

(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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Watch The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer weekdays at 4pm to 6pm ET and Saturdays at 6pm ET. For the latest from The Situation Room click here.

soundoff (209 Responses)
  1. Adam

    The wise Colin Powell supports brothers marrying each other.

    ""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."

    May 23, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  2. Perplexed1

    ENOUGH CNN....I am gay and I am sick of your stretching to make everything a story about gay marriage.

    May 23, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  3. Joe from Ohio

    Must be getting pretty lonely over on the anti-gay side. Better catch on guys before you go the way of the dinosaurs.

    May 23, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  4. BROCK LANDERS

    Um, HP just laid off how many workers? economy not going as well as we Hope, government is broke and we focusing on gay marriage? are you PEOPLE KIDDING ME? oh, and we have two wars going on and brave soldiers dying with illegals coming through our borders that cost us $$$$?? GET REAL PEOPLE, WHO CARES about gay marriage!!!! get married, get over it, more important fish to fry, like our idiot Prez!!

    May 23, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  5. David

    Conservative Christians = Biggest threat to our nation

    May 23, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  6. PaulMN

    Shame on Colin Powell. What will he support next?... polygamy?... pedophilia?

    May 23, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  7. NameMorpunkt

    Hey CNN. Let's talk about real news, like Obama barely winning the Dem primary in Kentucky and Arkansas.

    May 23, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  8. Whoopa

    Hey Colin, Wash your poop off of your DlLDO after using it. Would ya? LOLOL

    May 23, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  9. Sly

    There is no such thing as a black Republican.

    That party is 100% white.

    May 23, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  10. Whoopa

    Hey Colin, Wash your crap off of your DlLDO after using it. Would ya? LOLOL

    May 23, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  11. Eddie

    These military guys and politicians suddenly grow a backbone after their first pension check arrives.

    May 23, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  12. Adam

    Colin Powell supports polygamist and incestuous marriages.

    "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."

    May 23, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  13. Debby

    Who cares he is a turncoat for his party.

    May 23, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  14. Whoopa

    Hey Colin, Wash your poop off of your buttplug after using it. Would ya? LOLOL

    May 23, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  15. joels2000

    It's ashamed there is one person against gay marriage, who dislikes powerful strong black men who keeps posting under different names, against gay marriage.

    May 23, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  16. Chris

    Do we really believe anything this guy says anymore. First he's a republican. Then we get a black candidate and he supports him???? Interesting. Now a black president supports gay marriage and guess what, so does he!!! Now he doesn't know who he will support for president! AND WE BELIEVE HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 23, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  17. Pete

    Colin Powell is a member of the Committee of 300

    May 23, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  18. Adam

    Colin Powell thinks it's OK for two brothers to marry each other.

    "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."

    May 23, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  19. George

    why is this war criminal even given a forum? Who really cares what he thinks?

    May 23, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  20. ironman59

    For one I am glad to see Powell come out in support for a number of reasons. He knows first hand what it would and would not do for the military and clearly does not see an issue. He has worked hard in all positions with his only true failing the support of WMD's.

    The sad part in all of this is watching the far-right turn on him. 8+ years ago he was their hero for taking the country to war, for "being strong". Now they call him every name under the sun because he states for obvious reasons why it should be legal. Powell clearly states what the far-right misses. We are talking aboutt a CONTRACT BETWEEN 2 PEOPLE. All of the religious zealots want to stick their beliefs into secular law.

    Powell is correct that this is nothing more than a contract that gives people rights to care and obtain benefits for each other. There is nothing in this that changes laws about incest, minors, etc The contract is between 2 consenting adults which Powell clearly understands.

    It is good to see someone with real world experience stand up for the issue. Not that I would vote him into office but I respect him as a person and someone who served the country with honor at many levels. The far-right should try to remember that as well.

    May 23, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  21. Bleedingheart

    One of the few repukes I'd vote for.

    May 23, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  22. covering for jewish gansters

    media is just covering for jewish banksters again.

    May 23, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  23. Jimbob

    And Mitt Romney has come out for gay adoption. What's worse?

    May 23, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  24. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    They should run Colin Powell for President in 2024 after Obama's second term, and Hillary's two terms.
    He's the ONLY viable option, besides Huntsman, that they have of ever sitting behind that desk in the Oval Office.
    I know I'd surely enjoy seeing Colin's big ole feet propped up on the Presidential desk just like President Obama does now. It warms my heart to think of the conniption fits some folks have over a Black man being able to do that. Wink, wink, you betcha'!

    May 23, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    Wow! What has happened to America?......

    May 23, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
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