As opponents of gay marriage rallied in Olympia Thursday morning, former secretary of state Colin Powell told KING 5's Joyce Taylor that he supports gay marriage.
Powell -- a retired Army general who served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the first Persian Gulf conflict -- talked politics, religion and about his new book, It Worked for Me, on KING 5 Morning News.
On whether he plans to endorse President Obama again this year:
I'm just a private citizen. I'm under no obligation to make an endorsement just because I'm on a book tour. So, as I have always said in every election, I like to watch the candidates, but not only the candidates, I want to see what policies they're liable to implement, what the platform's going to be. I want to see what the whole ticket's going to look like. So I will take my time as a citizen to decide what I'm going to do and who I'm going to vote for.
On what he hoped Obama would do in office:
I wish he had closed Guantanamo. Once he asked congress if he could close Guantanamo, they just stopped it because they had to provide funding. I think he could have done it without going to congress. ... Guantanamo has been a problem for us for all these years. ...
Frankly, I would have liked to see the unemployment rate go down much more. I think it has to go down much more by the election or he may be in difficulty ... he has to focus on the economy and get the jobless rate down because that's what the American people expect.
On Romney's comments a few months ago about Russia being America's top rival:
I think he needs to think through these issues a little more thoroughly before he makes statements like that. I know Mr. Romney. I've known him for many, many years, and I think he's a very excellent individual. I'm sure he means the best for America.
On whether Romney's religion will affect the election, given Mormonism's historical treatment of blacks:
No, I don't think so. The man stands on his own. he is a man of faith. His faith is somewhat different than the faith of other Americans, but I don't see why his Mormonism should be in the least bit a problem for him. ...
The fact of the matter is, I know Mitt very well. I know what his views are with respect to African Americans, other minorities, and I think he is a person who believes in diversity and there is no discrimination in his body, in his soul.
On gay marriage:
In my view, right now, it's a state issue. And different parts of the country have very, very different views. But my own personal view is that, after thinking about it a great deal and watching the progress we have made over the years -- I know so many gay and lesbian friends who have committed relationships, who have children and who have been together for 40 and 50 years -- and I don't know why the legal basis of that relationship should not be consummated with a marriage.
It has nothing to do with religion. If a church or some other group or some denomination chooses not to provide a sacrament for that or solemnize it in a religious ceremony, that's their choice. But to deny that opportunity for a legal relationship with two people under the laws of the state or the laws of the country, I think is no longer appropriate and gay marriage should be accepted.
Now, each state is going to have to work their way through this, and I think if you come back a generation from now, you will find that this has moved greatly and that most states will have adopted it. If you look at the attitudes of the American people, increasingly, the numbers are moving in the direction of acceptance of gay marriage.