By Lisa Keen
Keen News Service
Republican presidential nominee John McCain announced Aug. 29 that he has selected Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be his vice-presidential running mate.
While the choice of Palin seems almost certainly an attempt to draw women voters from the ranks of Democrats – particularly those who initially supported Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination – it seems a hard sell, at least at initial glance. Palin experience includes only two years as governor of one of the least populated states in the country and ten years as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, a city of under 10,000 people.
In her run for the governorship in 2006, the Anchorage Daily News reported that Palin supported a constitutional amendment to the state constitution in 1998 to ban same-sex marriage and, later, supported putting a measure on the ballot that sought to ban benefits for the same-sex partners of state employees. But, according to the Daily News, she vetoed a bill that sought to block those benefits to gay state employees and she has said she has good friends who are gay.
Unlike her predecessor in the governor’s office, Palin complied with a state supreme court order that the state government give the partners of state gay employees the same benefits as the spouses of straight employees. In doing so, she noted that the state felt it had “no more judicial options to pursue,” in not providing benefits.
“We may disagree with the foundation (of the court decision),” she said, “… but our responsibility is to proceed forward with the law and abide by the constitution.”
Palin, 44, is the first woman to be nominated on the Republican ticket. Palin was also a runner-up in the 1984 Miss Alaska contest and point guard on her high school women’s basketball team the year it won the state championship.