May 23rd, 2012
03:27 PM ET
9 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. Don

    Powell = closet gay

    May 23, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  2. ohreally

    CNN seems to be putting up news stories of anything that is supportive of Obama. I guess this is that they call "media bias", but might be good business since Obama campaign is buying advertisements on CNN's home page."----------------And Fox only puts stories up that are negative to the President, so what was your point?

    May 23, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  3. orion7x

    This guy is the only Republican I can stand. He thinks and does not try to decieve (despite what the Bush did to him). The only credible GOP'er out there...

    May 23, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  4. Bill the Cat

    Powell is not a social conservative, so it's no surprise there.

    May 23, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  5. Emmittkitty

    Good for Powell. He was always the lone class act among the Bush posse of clowns that drove this country into the ground. Something tells me that he doesn't think much of Romney and the circus he 's trying to lead into the White House.

    May 23, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  6. ohreally

    Powell = closet gay"-------------You= closet fool.

    May 23, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  7. sparknut

    Thank you Mr. Powell.

    Now, please spill the beans about what really happened at the George W. Bush administration when they hoodwinked us into invading Iraq. They set up up at the UN and now it's time for the truth to come out..

    May 23, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  8. Vader

    It is too bad Powell would have zero chance of running for office under the banner of his party.

    May 23, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  9. Peter

    Robert wrote: "CNN seems to be putting up news stories of anything that is supportive of Obama. I guess this is that they call "media bias", but might be good business since Obama campaign is buying advertisements on CNN's home page."

    You obviously missed the recent articles by Conservatives Bill Bennett, Ari Fleischer and David Frum which were not exactly pro-Obama.

    Oh, and Colin Powell coming out for gay marriage? Naw, that's not news.

    May 23, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  10. Too Much

    Why can't we just take the reasonable half of each party and create a responsible politcal party that is larger than either the right or left wing?

    May 23, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  11. LolDems

    Only a matter of time before Powell, still indignant from his ego re-sizing, will endorse BO. Powell no longer has anything to offer. He can't be trusted to stay true to his stated convictions. Maybe he doesn't know what they are; maybe they are constantly evolving. Time to move on from this anachronism.

    May 23, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  12. Who the fu&k cares?

    Its a legal issue and I am glad that Powell saw that as many Americans do not. Just lay off conservative America! Let them have basic equal rights!

    May 23, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  13. Blue Khakis


    Sorry, I hit my head on a steel post and temporarily went Tea Party. Good for Gen. Powell.

    May 23, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  14. nilla

    ohreally, you're wrong.

    Don's foolishness is very much out in the open.

    May 23, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  15. user234

    Way to fall into their trap. Are you desperate for their approval or something? Most gays would actually want to throw you out of the country based on the color of your skin. Looks like Colin got "subbed" lol

    May 23, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  16. ccd08

    Who cares what he thinks either way? He's yesterday's news.

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

    "Powell is a guy that has been unduly tarnished by his association with the Republicans and their extremist views and is correct that this is an- Human Rights- law issue, and does not belong in political debate."

    Actually, Powell permanently stained his record because if his key role in the Bush runup to the illegal invasion of Iraq, and therefore should never serve in any government position again. Having said that, I admire and respect that he is one of the few, if only, GOBP cult members to act sane and recognize that he must atone for his sins. In that respect, he's doing very well. It's shame others in his party can't follow his excellent example.

    May 23, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  18. I Like to tiE My doG To the rooF Of tHE famILY Car for FUN

    Good on you sir!

    May 23, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  19. gtfo gays

    don't we have any more important issues than giving these degenerate repulsive animals our time here on crapNN? Yo ucan NEVER force a straight man to support this kind of filth even if you turn upside down on your head. By trying to force this decadent filth on us you are only making people hate you more. Vast majority of men are straight and you want to make them support and like these few shameless ones? Will never happen I don't care what you try or say or do. Go cry about your clementi guy somewhere else we Don't care

    May 23, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  20. Bill

    Clinton signed DOMA but lets not let facts get in the way.

    May 23, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  21. user234

    Good point anonymous, he was instrumental in the Iraq machinations.

    the repubs are planning ahead and the gays are the neocon bullies of the future. 50 years from now they will be coming up with false pretenses for invading random countries. nothing changes.

    May 23, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  22. ddt

    Obama didn't need to be a CEO of any company but he turned this country around. Not just a country, but "AMERICA". He gave up all his degrees and chose to work with people as a community organizer. He was a one term senater when entered the whitehouse. He was left with massive debt and a country to the bream of collapsing. If Ramney didn't know, the GDP was -ve 9% the stock market DDM was 6,0000 points, the country lost 750,000 jobs the day he took off. Today the following happened
    1- GDP is 2%
    2-4M jobs are created
    3-Stock market is now 13,000
    If you don't think that is turning things round without business experience.. you might living in a wonderland.

    May 23, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  23. nodule

    I have always respected Colin Powell. The man is nothing more than a class act. It's to bad no one can convince him to run for office.

    May 23, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  24. upstatenyman

    It's not a matter of "if" but "when" gays will be allowed to marry. If people would look at feelings and emotions of love between to 2 monogamous people instead of assuming what goes on behind closed doors, we'd be better off

    May 23, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  25. BobFromPA

    Anyone who is discrediting or disparaging Colin Powell via these comments all I have to say is this, what have you done for your country that comes anywhere close to what he has done for this country. Personally if he was running for President from who cares what party he would have my vote.

    May 23, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
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