May 6th, 2012
12:03 PM ET
11 years ago

Biden says he is 'absolutely comfortable' with same-sex marriage

(CNN) - As a ballot initiative to ban same sex-marriage comes to a vote in North Carolina this week, Vice President Joe Biden said Sunday he was "absolutely comfortable" with the idea of same-gender marriage.

"I just think that the good news is that as more and more Americans come to understand what this is all about, it is a simple proposition: Who do you love? Who do you love? And will you be loyal to the person who love?" Biden said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

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While he did not touch on the North Carolina initiative, his comments were consistent with his message on the controversial issue in general. He added, however, that it's the president, not he, who sets the administration's policy.

President Barack Obama, who once opposed same-sex marriage, has taken the official position that his views on the issue are "evolving." He says at fundraisers that there is much work do be done, leading many supporters in the LGBT community to believe that he would support same-sex marriage in a second term.

Biden, on the other hand, has more room politically to speak on the topic. Sunday, he said he was encouraged by what he sees as a shifting culture, one more welcoming to the notion of same-sex marriage, and pointed to a popular TV show as a catalyst for such change.

"I think 'Will and Grace' did more to educate the American public than almost anything anybody has ever done," Biden said, referring to the former NBC comedy about a gay man and a heterosexual woman living together in New York City.

Asked if the president would support same-sex marriage in a second term, Biden said he didn't know the answer. But he pointed to the Obama administration's repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, a move that now allows gay and lesbian members of the military to serve openly.

Some on Twitter seized on the vice president's words to question whether the White House was signaling a change in position on the issue ahead of the election. But David Axelrod, a senior adviser to Obama's re-election campaign, made clear that there is no intended split between the president's views and those of the vice president. Axelrod tweeted:

"What the VP said - that all married couples should have the same legal rights - is (precisely) POTUS' position."

The White House tried to shut down speculation that the administration's position on gay marriage has "evolved" when a spokesperson for the vice president put out a statement after the interview, saying his words mirror the president's position.

"Vice President Biden was echoing the President's position: 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."

Responding to the interview, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, a leading advocacy group for LGBT rights, also put out a statement.

"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," Michael Cole-Schwartz, the group's communications director, said in a statement.

In the past, Biden has expressed support for gay marriage. In a December 2010 appearance on "Good Morning America," he said, "I think there's an inevitability for a national consensus on gay marriage."

- CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Joe Biden • President Obama • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Squigman

    A reasonable and responsible man. The republicans are doing their best to come up with a response that can show their disdain, but will try to temper said response in an effort to cull some votes form the lesser enlightened among the populace. It won't be long before the Bashing begins. Hate seems to be a cornerstone of the republican party.

    May 6, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    The Corporatist (Fascist) republicans are the ones trying to control everyone's personal lives. They want to take away every God-Given Free Will CHOICE that Americans have.

    Obama/Biden 2012
    Clinton/Warren 2016

    May 6, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  3. manhandler1

    Love Biden...unafraid to just say what's on his mind.....something you'll never see Romney, or many other politicians do. for that matter. Wow! can believe that what he says is REALLY what he thinks.

    May 6, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  4. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Biden made the point that the culture is changing. That is something that everyone is needs to note. There are some who don't like that, but the only constant is change. It would be nice if people would be willing to let people live their lives as they chose to.

    May 6, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  5. Mei

    This isn't news! He's just as brain-washed as Obama. Sick.

    May 6, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  6. ronjayaz

    What has happened to America in the 21st century that we have evolved to be more tolerant toward each other. Of course, there will always be set backs, humans who cant tolerate difference but as the French say, "Viva la difference!" There's a crop of kids coming up and has been coming up for some time. The American propaganda has gotten through:"...with malice toward none and charity for all..." (Lincoln, 2d Inaugural) at least in our country. However, we now have to extend that philosophy toward the world-and be the beacon of tolerance toward all. We shud and must withdraw our troops from all over the world. Occupation is a 20th century idea, now defunct!

    May 6, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  7. EchoEcho

    Thank you, Mr Biden. We need more people like you in this world.

    May 6, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  8. Flatsguide

    Biden is only comfortable with it because it is election year. Why wasn't he comfortable with it last year, or the year before that? Quit drinking the obama kool-aid, and think for yourself for once.

    May 6, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  9. ZarGoth

    Nice to hear some news that's hopeful & rational....

    Those whoso want to reduce the size of government are so intent upon telling others how tolive; the fundamental conservative contradiction. Perhaps they are not really conservatives after all, just proto-facists.

    May 6, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  10. PAv

    It's simple: If we want to say that we're a country of freedom, then we have to respect the choices people make about who they love and want to share their lives with. Period. What is so complicated about that? The only people who feel threatened by the choices others make are those who are insecure about their own choices.

    May 6, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  11. Canuck

    Wow – a voice of reason – a rarity these days. Much preferable to the angry, hateful Republicans.

    May 6, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  12. GC1766

    Joe Biden (and every so-called Catholic who supports abortion and gay marriage) should be excommunicated. To receive the Lord at Mass while holding heretical views is an insult to Him.

    May 6, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  13. the man with a plan

    i use to pretend i was an astronaut why cant they pretend there married

    May 6, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  14. Bellyache

    Regardless of what old Biden thinks, perversions remain perversions. Can't change nature of things by passing stupid laws. Only nature can change nature.

    May 6, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  15. bam

    and Dick Cheney still resents his Daughter even with his new heart......

    May 6, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  16. vivine

    Thank God I dont support neither political parties. I am glad to be a non-voter

    May 6, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  17. jon

    Guess thats why his name is Bi-den

    May 6, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  18. peterr

    So Osama bin Laden was right when he left a message saying that to assassinate Obama leaving Biden in charge would be beneficial to al Queda. And with the dumbos who like Biden, then al Queda will never be defeated.

    May 6, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  19. Lazarus

    I could not have said it better myself. Well said!


    May 6, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  20. GoJoeGo

    I've not been a Joe Biden fan up until now. My respect for him just went up significantly! All human beings deserve to have the same rights and freedoms. People should be allowed to marry the one they love. This in no way undermines the marriage of anyone else; it's a personal matter. Good going, Joe!

    May 6, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
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