Forget what he said -- McCain's not against gay adoption

A spokeswoman says the senator "could have been clearer" in discussing his stance on gay adoption, and that he really isn't against it after all.

Published July 15, 2008 8:26PM (EDT)

John Kenneth Galbraith once said that "nothing is so admirable in politics as a short memory."

If they're still searching for a campaign motto, staffers for John McCain might want to keep Galbraith's words in mind.

Just days after McCain told the New York Times, "I don't believe in gay adoption," on Tuesday his campaign reversed field on the issue.

In a statement sent to the Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan, McCain's director of communications, Jill Hazelbaker, said that McCain "could have been clearer in the interview in stating that his position on gay adoption is that it is a state issue." She also emphasized that McCain was not "endorsing any federal legislation" regarding the issue -- this suggests that he would not pursue a constitutional amendment to ban gay adoption.

Hazelbaker concluded by saying that while McCain "believes children should be raised by a mother and father if at all possible ... he recognizes that there are many abandoned children who have yet to find homes. McCain believes that in those situations caring parental figures are better for the child than the alternative."

So what's McCain's real stance on the issue? As Steve Benen points out, it's probably not one he'd be comfortable telling Ellen DeGeneres about. McCain has a long career of pursuing anti-gay-rights policies: In 2005, he supported an Arizona amendment to change the state's Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, and he has expressed his opposition to civil unions numerous times.

By Vincent Rossmeier

Vincent Rossmeier is an editorial assistant at Salon.

MORE FROM Vincent Rossmeier

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2008 Elections John Mccain R-ariz.