The issue of LGBT rights was one of the topics covered during the highly anticipated US vice presidential debate last night.

Held in St. Louis, Missouri, and broadcast on television, the debate saw the Democratic Party’s Joe Biden and the Republican Party’s Sarah Palin go head to head on a number of issues. It is the only debate scheduled between the two presidential running mates.

The subject of rights for same-sex couples was brought up by moderator Gewn Ifill, who asked Bidden, “Do you support, as they do in Alaska, granting same-sex benefits to couples?”

The senator replied: “Absolutely. Look, in an Obama-Biden administration, there will be absolutely no distinction from a constitutional standpoint or a legal standpoint between a same-sex and a heterosexual couple.”

“The fact of the matter is that under the Constitution we should be granted – same-sex couples should be able to have visitation rights in the hospitals, joint ownership of property, life insurance policies, etcetera. That’s only fair. It’s what the Constitution calls for. And so we do support it,” he added.

“We do support making sure that committed couples in a same-sex marriage are guaranteed the same constitutional benefits as it relates to their property rights, their rights of visitation, their rights to insurance, their rights of ownership as heterosexual couples do.”

Governor Sarah Palin, who has come under fire for her conservative stance on LGBT issues, was also asked the question and replied:

“Well, not if it goes closer and closer towards redefining the traditional definition of marriage between one man and one woman. And unfortunately that’s sometimes where those steps lead.”

But I also want to clarify, if there’s any kind of suggestion at all from my answer that I would be anything but tolerant of adults in America choosing their partners, choosing relationships that they deem best for themselves, you know, I am tolerant and I have a very diverse family and group of friends and even within that group you would see some who may not agree with me on this issue, some very dear friends who don’t agree with me on this issue,” she said.

“But in that tolerance also, no one would ever propose, not in a McCain-Palin administration, to do anything to prohibit, say, visitations in a hospital or contracts being signed, negotiated between parties. But I will tell Americans straight up that I don’t support defining marriage as anything but between one man and one woman, and I think through nuances we can go round and round about what that actually means. But I’m being as straight up with Americans as I can in my non- support for anything but a traditional definition of marriage.”

According to a national CNN poll, 51 percent of Americans thought that Biden performed the best in the debate, while 36 percent thought that Palin was the victor. When it came to likeability however, 54 percent said that Palin was more likable that Biden.

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