11/03/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Tolerance is For Drugs; Rights Are For Humans

Below is a portion of the transcript from last night's vice-presidential debate. I replaced any reference to homosexual relationships with references to interracial relationships. Just to see -- as a straight, black woman -- how it would feel if they were talking about me.

IFILL: Governor, would you support expanding [benefits for interracial couples] beyond Alaska to the rest of the nation?

PALIN: Well, not if it goes closer and closer towards redefining the traditional definition of marriage between a white man and a white 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.

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 a white man and a white 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 white marriage.

IFILL: Let's try to avoid nuance, Senator. Do you support interracial marriage?

BIDEN: No. Barack Obama nor I support redefining from a civil side what constitutes white marriage. We do not support that. That is basically a decision to be left to faiths and people who practice their faiths the determination of what you call it.

The bottom line though is, and I'm glad to hear the governor, I take her at her word, obviously, that she thinks there should be no civil rights distinction, none whatsoever, between a committed interracial couple and a committed white couple. If that's the case, we really don't have a difference.

IFILL: Is that what you said?

PALIN: Your question to him was whether he supported interracial marriage and my answer is the same as his and it is that I do not.

I am a strong supporter of the Obama/Biden ticket, and will certainly be voting for them in the general election. However, this is one area in which my personal beliefs collide with both candidates' political narratives. I know it is considered safe and smart to make it clear that you're as anti-gay as the oft-referenced "Joe Six-Pack," but I wish instead you were allowed to tell Joe that he's a bigot, and that in America you have the right to spew hate but our administration is not legally backing you up.

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