Powell supports same-sex marriage

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke out Wednesday in support of same-sex marriage, saying he has "no problem with it." 

"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 [as] 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," Powell said during an appearance on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."

Powell, who recalled the implementation of the "Don't ask, don't tell" law during his tenure as chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, said he thinks most Americans "increasingly understand that times have changed."

President Obama became the first U.S. president to endorse gay marriage when he announced his support in an ABC News interview earlier in May. After years of “evolving” on the issue, Obama said he had concluded “personally” that same-sex couples should be able to get married. At the same time, Obama did not come out in favor of a federal law, leaving states free to ban gay marriage.

Powell, who served as secretary of State under George W. Bush, told CNN he is supportive of Obama's public remarks on same-sex nuptials.

He also said that while he respects the rights of religious institutions to recognize marriage as they see fit, state and federal law should give the same protections to heterosexual and homosexual unions.

"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," he said.

Powell, who has been making the media rounds this week to promote his book, It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership, has yet to formally throw his support behind either the president or the presumptive GOP nominee, Mitt Romney. Powell endorsed Obama's candidacy in 2008.