May 6th, 2012
12:03 PM ET
10 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. Daniel

    I love Joe Biden. He is a true American.

    May 6, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  2. Gurgyl

    True, it is not any ones business when comes to personal matter. No wonder people love Biden...

    May 6, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  3. realitycnn

    Biden is a smart, reasonable, and rational man. I have yet to hear any logical and rational argument as to how a Straight or Gay marriage have an impact on someone else’s marriage. The reasons from people opposing gay marriage are often irrational, illogical, not justifiable, and typically based on Bigotry, Prejudice, Hate, Religion, and/or Ignorance, ALL of which are not valid reasons to deny someone Civil/Equal Rights (including Straight or Gay marriage).

    May 6, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  4. Mary

    You know what, Joe Biden? You're awesome, man! Well said.

    May 6, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  5. Fair is Fair

    Hey – I have nothing against it either.

    But for Biden to "claim" he is a devout Catholic makes him nothing less than a hypocrite. So add that to his resume of being a complete buffoon and what do you have? A hypoctical buffoon.

    May 6, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  6. be

    The straight community could learn a lot from the gay community: (1) Marriage should be more about what is in your heart than what is between your legs. (2) A healthy home is more about uniting people and raising children in a loving and nurturing environment that about the ability to unite a sperm with an egg. (3) Morality should more about our contribution to society than on our obsession with judging it.

    May 6, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  7. Mike

    Biden 2016 anyone?

    May 6, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  8. fernace

    Const.itutionally, there is nothing to stop a gay couple from marrying right now! If it wasn't for false religious doctrines being bandied about, as though they should have higher regard than the laws of the land, this would not be an issue! I say false, because although there are many biblical references to "1 man & 1 woman" per wedding, there are an equal amount of references to a man taking a 2nd & 3rd wife, often in the very next verse! Polygamy is rampant in the bible, because it was the law of God & the law of man at the time! Sadly, I cant find the reference in the NT that states that polygamy is no longer the law of God & man can only take 1 wife! Is there a verse? I ask, because it's the reason for the hold up of progress, this notion that marriage is annointed by God, for 1 man & 1 woman! But what if this is simply a human notion, based on tradition & a confusion over scripture! We should all have the right to our own beliefs, but religion must be kept separate from law making, as this illustrates!

    May 6, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  9. jj

    Just another of the loose, easy people of the Democratic Party.

    May 6, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  10. Rob low

    I am so proud of both President Obama and Vice President Biden and I can't wait for four more years. Both men are compassionate, intelligent, just, and rational and they base their decisions on fairness and rationality rather than on hate and fear. Thank you to both of you for helping to make America a Country for all citizens and not just the rich and mighty.
    And I also wholeheartedly support marriage between any two loving and committed consenting adults.

    May 6, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  11. Randy Hickman

    Thank you Joe Biden for injecting yet more common sense into the debate over same-gender marriage and opposing violence against LGBT youth. The video of the pastor recently in North Carolina encouraging parents of LGBT youth to engage in violence rather than education shows us we have a long way to go in protecting children from bullying and suicide

    May 6, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  12. Jes

    You botta love aman who has completely compromised his Roman Catholic beliefs to try and be popular,

    May 6, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    Cue the extreme rightwing hatemonkeys in 4,3,2,1.....

    May 6, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  14. mancinibread

    Joe the, straight-forward, candid. Love that guy!

    May 6, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  15. Jim

    It is a good thing I decided to get on CNN after coming home from church today. I was going to vote for Obama but since his position on gay marriage is "evolving" then my position on voting for him has evolved too. I am going to vote for Romney this year. We need to do everything we can to prevent the scourge of gay marriage from taking root in our society. NC is heading the right direction. I hope other states will follow suit.

    May 6, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  16. Dan J

    If anyone is buying this, I have a bridge to sell you in brookyln. He's trying to score political points, nothing more. What he said is a complete 180 from what he was saying in the last election cycle.

    May 6, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  17. lefty avenger

    So Joe and Obama should pass a Countrywide universal gay rights bill and end the denial of equal rights for gay people.

    May 6, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  18. J D Sonice

    And that is why I love the democrats. Live and let live. What people do in their own homes is nobody's business. The funny this is that the Republicans are all for small government yet they are the ones responsible for loss of our personal freedoms.

    May 6, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  19. Marie MD

    Exactly, Mr. Vice President, NOBODY should tell anyone who to love and any "christian" who really reads their bible and abides by the word of their god should know better.

    May 6, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  20. Kevin

    Good for Biden! He sees the writing on the wall that the American public understands marriage equality is more and more accepted. My marriage to my husband no way affects Biden's, my hetero parents, my sister's, or anyone else's. I applaud him and am looking forward when politicians can run on marriage equality and not come out in support AFTER they leave office. Obama, we're looking at you!

    May 6, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  21. Jane

    @realitycnn: Beautifully said. Thank you (from a straight woman with a straight son). Also, my respect and admiration for our Vice President, already enormous, just grows every day. Thank whatever gods there be for giving us such principled, intelligent and compassionate men as our President and Vice President.

    May 6, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  22. Gene Cole

    "Biden is a smart, reasonable, and rational man."

    All credibility was lost by leading with this statement.

    May 6, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  23. George

    It hurts when I see a politicians turning to a simple message to please the crowd even if it is so wrong like if we please our kids by not sending them to school because after all the majority of kids do not like school. God created man and a woman, if God created Adam and Steve instead of Adam and Eve I wouldn't be able to write this tweet. I have no problem with lesbians and gays to share home and have freedom to live among us because it is not us who should judge them but I sure have problem to give them a legal marriage certificate and openly say it is good and natural to be one, because I wouldn't want to be judge with them. I faced judgment and was given another chance, please do the right thing and stop permitting the wrong thing and there are a lot of wrong things.
    God help us all.

    May 6, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  24. Gavin Ford

    Now if only Obama would admit the same thing.

    May 6, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  25. sarad

    Fine Biden. But don't tell us you are Catholic.

    May 6, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
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