(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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Thank God he never did run for President , i can't stand the sight of him now !
With all do respect, I want to be clear that I can make a lot of room to accomodate the gay community but that community needs to respect that I absolutley oppose giving them access to the the term marriage as it is defined by the most important relationship of my life.
The gay community has wanted to be accepted for its differences, great don't come running back to my community wanting to be the same when it comes to access to marriage. When the churches of the world say yea, i will gladly relent.
Hey Colin, Wash your poo off of your buttplug after using it. Would ya? LOLOL
Colin Powell has no business in the Republican Party. He's in favor of gay marriage, affirmative action, gun control and is opposed to capital punishment. That sounds like ME! He should leave the Dark Side and reqister where his head and heart are in the Democratic Party.
It looks like he has 'EVOLVED' What a sap. He was a sham of a general and a sham in life.
Good for you, Colin Powell!
congrats, you are only 12 years behind Dick Cheney.
I have the utmost respect for Gen Powell! Most cannot match his intellect. I served in the military and I respect his opinion on this any any matter. LEAD, FOLLOW OR GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY!
Technically, the president didn't make a decision. He just has a political position on how he'd like things to be.
Big surprise– another black suddenly changing their stance in order to help the half black president. Colin powell has a history of this for Obama. His stating that he doesn't know who he will support in the election is a lie. He's fully in the tank for Obama. Has everything to do with race to him.
WTG Gen. Powell, I to agree with President Obama that all consenting tax paying adults have the right to be recognized under the law as married. My point is this is not a religions act it is a legal act. Legality is the focus because everyone in America are not believers and President Obama has consistently stood for equal rights for all.
These comments are shameful! Powell was and has been one of the most respected and thoughtful government officials that either party has had in modern times. A few years ago he was the Republican party darling and they were all hoping he would run for President. Now because, he not only sees the mess that his party is becoming and the way the extremists are irrationally pushing it farther to the right, but is one of the few Republican thinkers to take a stand against the widespread idocacy in his own party, they are dismissing him as if he was nothing. This is a tragic way to treat a man who has done more for this country and the world than everyone of these moronic commenters combined!
hospitals have to remove lost toys.
Proud of Colin Powell for speaking out for justice for ALL Americans. Shame on the rest of you.
He always kisses Obama.
He is a very good, smart man!! Only idiots are against it now.
There are a lot of Republicans who could care less about gay marriage, or contraception. I'm concerned about the deficit.
Hey haters, here's hoping you have a gay offspring of your very own. Actually, I'm absolutely certain that some of you already have one. Your hatred is crippling your relationship with your gay child, guarenteed.
Dude is probably one of the few real Republicans left. I can just imagine how much more sane the publc conversation would be if there were more like him in control of the GOP. Granted, he helped sell the WMDs in Iraq lie, but still...all that does is show just hwo extreme the current crop truly is if they've gone waaaaaay off to the radicalized right from Powell.
Hmmm, Just A Moment. Way to think for yourself. When the churches of the world say jump off a bridge, are you going to do so?
Very funny, Obama is forced to take a stand on gay marriage and suddenly we have the NAACP coming out in favor of it, Colin Powell now is for it. Odd that they were not in favor of it before their position would help a president "that looks like them". Especially Powell, who as head of the Joint Chiefs could have actually made a difference in people's lives. Guess it is easier to take a "controversial" stand when it is no longer controversial and has no cost. So, who's next? Black Hollywood or music stars? I am guessing there is not much moral credibility or stature there. How about the NBA? Maybe next year....
To all the folks who think Mr. Powell isn't a Republican, you're just unfamiliar with that rare thing–an intelligent Republican.
Hey, at least this guy always shows his true color, just like the NAACP.
He is a weirdo liberal hiding behind the GOP. Shame on him!