May 23rd, 2012
03:27 PM ET
3 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. David

    Powell may be taking his que from Alan Turing, the gay man who stopped Hitler in his tracks and then invented the computer.

    Alan Turing 1912 – 1956

    May 23, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  2. NorCalMojo

    I doubt many people really care what Colin Powell has to say these days.

    May 23, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  3. dentont

    go away Colin Powell, stand for something, don't just stick your finger in the air and see whichway the winds are blowing

    May 23, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  4. Really America

    Wow!! Reading these post, it is quite obvious that the majority of people on here are a bunch of bi atches who whine when someone opposes their views of life. First, you did not create this nation and neither did your ancestors. This country was built on the back of slaves and the blood of its original natives. Secondly, you have no right on God's green earth to judge someone harshly because they don't think like you. Get over yourselves, look at yourselves and adjust yourselves to the realization that this country is not yours anyway. This is for a new generation who will change the face of the US as generations before this. So stop your whining, live your life either in your isolated and dying mental state or welcome yourself to the future by letting old habits and thinking (i.e. like Jim Crow, slavery, discrimination.. you know that old reliable thinking of old) die and die hard. If you can't love your brothers and sisters, do the world a favor and delete yourself from life. Love to all..

    May 23, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  5. people are dumb

    quit using religion to try to make your beliefs seem right...god doesn't hate gay people you do

    May 23, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  6. terry123

    "I have no problem with it" doesn't exactly equate to "favoring" it.

    May 23, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  7. znHcats

    Gay people never propose marry to you or interfere your marriage or private life. But a punch of narrow minded people do. Pls stop using your bible to justify some else' s life, you hypocrite don't follow every word from the bible, and married Christian vowed to fidelity their spouses in church in front of God, why divorce?
    You guys have no business in running other's private life. You are a sham in life.

    May 23, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  8. stormkith

    Wow. Are you kidding me? I see all these so-called conservatives who LOVED Powell for years, and the moment he says something they don't agree with, he's the devil? A sham? No business being a Republican? You can't stand the sight of him now?

    Get a grip, Republicans. You're looking more and more ridiculous to Independents like me with every passing day.

    May 23, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  9. Itmustbeso

    This is the patsy that told you all about the "Weapons of Mass Destruction" in IRAQ that did not exist. His views on gay rights are essentially irrelevant.

    May 23, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  10. johnharry

    General,

    get on the Ballot!!!

    May 23, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  11. Joshua Ludd

    @Hmmjustamoment "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."

    You need to realize that your desires for some sort of semantic purity that allow that term to cover the most important relationship in YOUR life but not in theirs is still setting them up as second class citizens. You and your relationship are not impacted at all by gay marriage.

    May 23, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  12. Russ

    Good for him. At least there is a republican to counterbalance that preacher yammering about 'Jee sus sayes hate is guud! Yee Haw!' Putting people in cages and letting em starve to death. Makes those bible pounding nuts about as attractive as a three day old turd with flies all over it.

    May 23, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  13. Sly

    "Marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman which is recognized in heaven as blessed.I care about the opinion of Almighty God,not politicians and Hollywood types that already have first-class tickets on a hell-bound train."

    Hey John, let's hear from your fantasy God. 100,000 years and not even peep from the Big Fat White Man in the Clouds?

    I've heard of silent leaders, but this is getting ridiculous.

    Why don't religious people worship rocks instead? Same response, but at least you can see them!

    May 23, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  14. stormkith

    Some of you people are so scuzzy it's embarrassing. Just because you disagree with his statement doesn't give you the right to say some of the vindictive, crappy things you're saying. Grow up.

    May 23, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  15. KyleGlobal

    If only this sane, rational Republican was the type of Republican the modern party supported. Instead, they seem to only go for extremist goofballs who use their gut instead of intellect, are in it for Party over Country, and who follow blind ideology with a complete lack of critical thought. He's one of the last of the sane wing of the Party. If he was in any sort of elected position though, the right wing would scream RINO and run him out of office. It's shame for our country.

    May 23, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  16. Brian from Texas

    I find it comical at how many people and how angered they get just at the thought of gays being legally "married". Save your anger and frustrations for things that actually matter and affect you. Seriously, let the gays have this, you'll be fine.

    May 23, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  17. John the Historian

    Gay marriage is now the future. it is only a question of when in the USA. The Supreme Court could take up the California Appeals Court decision to legalize Gay marriage but will probably not do so. But then we will have Gay marriage again in California before the end of the year. Argentina, Canada, Belgium, Holland, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Spain, and South Africa all have gay marriage and the world has not gone under. Most of the rest of Western Europe has civil unions. Denmark has had civil unions since 1989. There is no going back. Unitarian churches, Metropolitain Community churches, and the Gay rights organizations of Dignity and Integrity have been having Gay couple blessings in churches for years. Please stop the hate. Gays just want a family like everyone else. Gays are being produced by straights and Gays can have children.

    May 23, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  18. Ralph

    Who cares what Powell says? He made himself irrelevant during the last campaign anyway.

    May 23, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  19. PDX James

    Powell remains one of the few people in either party who still has some small amount of my respect. No doubt his ability to make decisions based on reason rather than money, party lines, or religion is the reason he hasn't been seriously considered as a candidate by either party.

    May 23, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  20. jamest297@yahoo.com

    You know that we are living in the 21st century when the world's best golfer has been a black guy, the world's best rap artist has been a white guy, the colored people's association favors allowing gay marriage and a Republican colored guy agrees with the colored people's association. Now if we could only drag white people to the same point of view.

    Is this a great country or what?

    May 23, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  21. rminwa

    He was SO respected as Post Commander when I served in the Army at Ft. Carson. He has either "evolved" or now just shows his true colors. Sorry, "Sir", you lost my respect years ago.

    May 23, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  22. dentont

    man, stand for something. Don't just stick your finger in the air to see which way winds are blowing

    May 23, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  23. David Hoes

    Only because Obama is black.

    May 23, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  24. Casey

    I knew I liked Colin Powell. He is in favor of legal equality for all U.S. citizens. Go Colin!!

    May 23, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  25. jamest297

    You know that we are living in the 21st century when the world's best golfer has been a black guy, the world's best rap artist has been a white guy, the colored people's association favors allowing gay marriage and a Republican colored guy agrees with the colored people's association. Now if we could only drag white people to the same point of view.

    Is this a great country or what?

    May 23, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
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