In a statement supporting Republican presidential nominee-in-waiting Senator John McCain's pick for VP, Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin, members of the gay group Log Cabin Republicans said they liked the choice because “Gov. Palin is an inclusive Republican who will help Sen. McCain appeal to gay and lesbians voters.” Several media pundits, including conservative talk show host Glenn Beck and syndicated columnist Debra Saunders, expressed similar positions.

Conservative host Glenn Beck told a CNN Newsroom audience on Sunday that he liked Palin because she showed “common sense” in giving gay state couples marriage-like benefits. “She is the first administration in Alaska's history to provide benefits to the partners of gay and lesbian employees. So she's not – she's, she's common sense. ... Real conservatives have common sense values, and they'll look at things and say, 'Okay, I believe in traditional marriage. But why would I stop somebody from getting, you know, benefits, they've lived together for 20 years?'”

Beck, who has said he remains dubious about voting for McCain, later added, “I have to know more about Sarah Palin, but what I do know, if she is who I think she is, I'll pull the lever for John McCain.”

Columnist Saunders expressed a similar view in her August 31st opinion, “[Palin] is not a hard-core social conservative. For example, Palin supported awarding benefits for same-sex couples.”

It is true that Palin vetoed an Alaskan bill that denied gay state employees spousal benefits in 2006, but she did so only on the advice of the state attorney general who told her the bill was unconstitutional. Alaska's Supreme Court had already said denying such benefits was unconstitutional.

Palin is staunchly opposed to gay marriage or marriage-like benefits for gay couples. In a written questionnaire, completed while running for governor in 2006, she was asked if she agreed with the State Supreme Court's ruling giving gay couples spousal benefits by the conservative group Eagle Forum Alaska. Palin's response: “No, I believe spousal benefits are reserved for married citizens as defined in our constitution.” Voters in the State passed 2-to-1 in 1998 a constitutional ban on gay marriage.

While she may have vetoed a bill denying spousal benefits to gay state employees, Palin very much disagrees with the rights of gays to marry or be given marriage-like benefits.

Meanwhile, gay Republicans continue to push for inclusion in the Republican party, and claim some progress – such as their presence inside the convention this year. Unfortunately, they remain only a nominal voice for change; the 2008 Republican Party Platform calls for a federal constitutional ban on gay marriage.