Vice President Joe Biden touted, on Meet the Press, the Obama administration’s support of queer rights and voiced his own support and comfort with gay couples marrying. However, he fell short of saying that if elected to a second term President Barack Obama would endorse a marriage-equality platform.
“The good news is that as more and more Americans become to understand what this is all about is a simple proposition. Who do you love? Who do you love? And will you be loyal to the person you love? And that’s what people are finding out is what all marriages, at their root, are about. Whether they’re marriages of lesbians or gay men or heterosexuals,” Biden said in the interview.
Obama’s position on gay marriage has cycled over the years. He endorsed gay marriage during a 1996 run for the Illinois Senate, but then opposed it when he ran for U.S. Senate in 2004 and for president in 2008. Last summer Obama said his views on gay marriage were “evolving” but has avoided the subject since. Biden pointed out Obama’s work on overturning the discriminatory military policy banning openly gay and lesbian soldiers from serving in the armed forces and his implemented policy requiring hospitals that receive federal funding to allow same-sex partner visitations.
In the 2008 race during a debate with Sarah Palin, Biden said that neither “Barack Obama nor I support redefining, from a civil side, what constitutes marriage. We do not support that.’’
Biden softened that stance with a heartfelt, apparently unrehearsed comment.
“Look, I am vice president of the United States of America. The president sets the policy,’’ Biden said. “I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying [one] 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.’’
After the remarks, some gay rights activists felt the vice president’s remarks amounted to unequivocal support of same-sex marriage. But Biden’s office said his remarks should be seen only as an assertion that gay couples deserve the same rights as heterosexual couples.