Sarah Palin is gaining support from an unlikely group: gay and lesbian Alaskans.
Despite her evangelical Christian roots, some openly gay residents of towns throughout Alaska describe Palin as more of a libertarian in her approach to same-sex issues in the Land of the Midnight Sun.
Writing on several blogs, men and women who describe themselves as openly gay say the governor is known for her tolerance and warmth. They dismiss her opposition to same-sex marriage and other issues as political posturing.
A vast state with a small population — fewer than 700,000 people — the Palin supporters describe a go-along, get-along approach to governing that they hope will serve as a template if the McCain-Palin ticket wins in November, they say.
Nobody is suggesting such support could tip the election. Gay activist groups, with a few notable exceptions, tend to support Democrats. Palin, though, seems to have found some backers among former Hillary Clinton supporters, as well as established gay conservative groups like the Log Cabin Republicans.
Writing on Pajamas Media, blogger B. Daniel Blatt writes that “some Hillary Democrats who had been pulling for McCain since their candidate lost are pleased, with one e-mailing me to say that the Republican ticket is one he is “enthusiastic about and I’m honestly surprised by that, having never entertained the thought of voting Republican before (with the exception of Schwarzenegger).”
He adds that Palin’s selection “has brought together left-leaning lesbians and Hillary-supporting gay men concerned about Barack Obama’s qualifications with gay conservatives unhappy with McCain’s frequent departures from party orthodoxy.”
The support comes despite Palin’s support of a 1998 constitutional amendment barring state recognition of same-sex marriage, and her more recent support of a state ballot question that would deny benefits to homosexual couples. Also, Palin has been a member of at least one church that believe homosexuality is curable, like a disease.
Eric DeLand, an openly gay man who lives in the Kenai area of Alaska and knows Palin, said, “They may not agree with her on everything, but they agree with enough; they’re happy with McCain’s decision to pick Sarah.
“I’ve never seen her mistreat anyone for being gay or for whatever,” he said, adding that many Alaskans are more libertarian than doctrinaire conservative. “You live your life and I live mine; we’ll all just get along.”
That sentiment is shared by other gay bloggers in conservative strongholds.
The blogger Queer Conservative, who lives in the red state of South Carolina, says he’s giving McCain a chance because of Palin. Choosing the Alaskan “showed me that he will listen, that he will change his mind if he thinks it’s the right decision. He won’t be stubborn like Bush even in the face of evidence he’s wrong.”
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