Vice President Joe Biden became the highest-ranking official in the Obama administration to signal support for same-sex marriage on Sunday during an interview with “Meet The Press.”
Biden stopped just a touch short from outright saying that he backs marriage equality. But the implication was beyond clear that he has completed the so-called evolution on gay marriage that President Obama has yet to finish.
“And you’re comfortable with same-sex marriage now?” “Meet the Press” host David Gregory asked.
“I am vice president of the United States of America,” Biden replied. “The president sets the policy. I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties. And quite frankly, I don’t see much of a distinction– beyond that.”
A spokesperson for the vice president emailed over further clarification on the “Meet the Press” remarks, stating in part that Biden had not fully endorsed same-sex marriage.
“The vice president was saying what the president has said previously – that committed and loving same-sex couples deserve the same rights and protections enjoyed by all Americans, and that we oppose any effort to rollback those rights. That’s why we stopped defending the constitutionality of section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act in legal challenges and support legislation to repeal it. Beyond that, the Vice President was expressing that he too is evolving on the issue, after meeting so many committed couples and families in this country.”
LGBT Advocacy groups responded:
“I’ve known Vice President Biden since interning for him in the Senate in 1976. The personal and thoughtful way he has spoken about his coming to support the freedom to marry reflects the same journey that a majority of Americans have now made as they’ve gotten to know gay families, opened their hearts and changed their minds. President Obama should join the Vice President, former Presidents Clinton and Carter, former Vice Presidents Gore and Cheney, Laura Bush, and so many others in forthright support for the freedom to marry.” – Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom To Marry.
“We are encouraged by Vice President Biden’s comments, who rightly articulated that loving and committed gay and lesbian couples should be treated equally. Now is the time for President Obama to speak out for full marriage equality for same-sex couples.” – Human Rights Campaign