Cindy McCain has posed for an ad released by the NOH8 campaign, a pro-gay-marriage effort that pictures celebrities with their mouths taped shut, the Associated Press reports
. McCain appears in the usual format: dressed in white, with "NOH8" painted on her cheek and silver duct tape across her mouth. (H8 refers to the ballot measure passed by California voters in 2008 banning same-sex marriage.)
The ad was a surprise to some, since John McCain opposed gay marriage during his 2008 presidential run, and his wife rarely speaks out on particular issues. McCain's office issued a statement saying that the senator respects differences of opinion between his family members, but still "believes the sanctity of marriage is only defined as between one man and one woman."
Said spokesperson Brooke Buchanan: "The senator chaired the effort to successfully pass Arizona Proposition 102, the Marriage Protection Amendment, and his opposition to gay marriage remains the same."
On the NOH8 campaign's Web site, under the headline "Redefining Republican," NOH8 writes that Cindy McCain "reached out" to them about the ad. "Aligning yourself with the platform of gay marriage as a Republican still tends to be very stigmatic, but Cindy McCain wanted to participate in the campaign to show people that party doesn't matter -- marriage equality isn't a Republican issue any more than it is a Democratic issue."
The McCains' daughter, Meghan, has been outspoken in her support of gay rights, and currently features her own shot from the NOH8 campaign as the background on her Twitter
page. Meghan McCain has spoken at a number of gay-rights events, and will be featured at National Equality Week at George Washington University next month. She has publicly addressed her difference of opinion with her father, saying they respectfully disagree.
"I couldn't be more proud of my mother for posing for the NOH8 campaign," she tweeted on Wednesday. "I think more Republicans need to start taking a stand for civil rights in this country and set the example that this is not a partisan issue."
Though both John McCain and Barack Obama opposed gay marriage during the 2008 campaign, same-sex unions have drawn fiercest opposition from the Republican base. But divergent views within that base are nothing new. Former vice president Dick Cheney, a champion of bedrock conservative thought on most issues, said last summer that he supports gay marriage -- perhaps not surprising, given that one of his daughters is gay. And Nancy Reagan's support of stem-cell research -- which she believes could help treat or cure the Alzheimer's disease that claimed her husband -- put her at odds with a widely held conservative stance.
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