This morning on Meet The Press Vice President Joe Biden appeared to come out in support of same-sex marriage. Think Progress has the quote:
Look, I am Vice President of the United States of America. The president sets the policy. I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual men marrying women 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. […] I think Will & Grace probably did more to educate the American public than almost anything anybody has done so far. People fear that which is different and now they’re beginning to understand.
Already there’s some backtracking.
Human Rights Campaign
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.
We are proud of Vice President Joe Biden for his strong statement in support of giving our relationships the dignity and respect they deserve. On the heels of Mitt Romney’s reprehensible treatment of his only gay staffer in the midst of an onslaught of attacks from the bigoted wing of the GOP, the Vice President’s statement underlines the contrast between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to LGBT equality. While not a direct endorsement of marriage equality, the Vice President’s statement is promising. What we really need now is for President Obama to take a stand in support of the freedom to marry and bring to bear the full weight of his Administration to make it reality.
Freedom To Marry
“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.
“Today, Vice President Biden took an important step toward joining former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, former Vice Presidents Al Gore and Dick Cheney, and a growing majority of Americans who support marriage equality for their gay and lesbian friends, family and neighbors,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. “It is significant that Vice President Biden spoke about the importance of Will & Grace in his journey toward acceptance, since we know that the media plays a key role in helping people understand that denying any loving couple the chance at happiness and security that comes only through marriage is not only hurtful, it’s downright un-American.”
The New York Times takes notice.
Mr. Biden prefaced his remark in his NBC interview by saying, “The president sets the policy,” and his aides later indicated that the views he expressed were his own. The White House immediately suggested on Sunday that the vice president had articulated no change in the administration’s official position on same-sex marriage. But gay rights advocates said that Mr. Biden’s remarks seemed to convey unmistakable support for their biggest cause. “Trying now to walk this back will only hurt them,” said Richard Socarides, a political strategist who advised President Bill Clinton on gay rights issues. “You can’t clarify an answer as direct and candid and expansive as the one he gave.” He added: “We know where Biden stands. It’s a welcome development.”