Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said in 1993, one month before he retired, “I don’t want to spend the rest of my life giving speeches.”  Powell is now getting $100,000- 200,000 a speech, and has decided to speak out once again. This past Wednesday, he told Wolf Blitzer on CNN that he’s in favor of same-sex marriage:

“As I’ve thought about gay marriage, I know a lot of friends who are individually gay but are in partnerships with loved ones. And they are stable a family as my family is. And they raise children. And so I don’t see any reason not to say that they should be able to get married under the laws of their state or the laws of the country, however that turns out. It seems to be the laws of the state… I hope everybody will just carefully look at this, and I understand the religious objections to it. But at the same time, we are a country that is open to diversity and change. And my experience with many of my gay and lesbian friends is that they form unions as strong as any other unions I’ve seen and raise children that are good, strong children.”

Powell has never been known for taking a strong stand; he has advanced his career by moderating his views to suit the occasion. In a classic Powell statement that reflects his lack of strong conviction while wrapping himself in the flag, he told “Face the Nation” in February 2010:

“But just as they did in Philadelphia when they were writing the constitution, sooner or later, you’ve got to compromise.”

It’s no accident that Powell only announced his support for same-sex marriage once he felt the idea had gained enough sway that he wasn’t standing alone. And it’s also no accident that once Barack Obama’s endorsement of the idea went public, Powell, who supports him and is regarded as a moderate, would echo Obama to provide him political cover.