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On Meet The Press, Unequivocal Statement Of Support By Vice-President
By Nathan James
Vice President Joe Biden (D-Delaware), made an unequivocal endorsement of same-sex marriage this morning on NBC’s Meet The Press, a long-running weekly public-affairs program. Speaking with interviewer David Gregory, Biden said, “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,” adding further that he meant “all the civil rights, all the civil liberties. And quite frankly, I don’t see much of a distinction beyond that.”
When Gregory asked Biden to clarify his “beliefs”, Biden stated, “That’s what I believe”. Biden did stress that he, as Vice President, does not make policy, saying “The President sets the policy,” but despite President Obama’s “evolving” position on gay marriage, Biden reiterated that he felt the core principles of marriage applied to everyone, noting, “Look, I just think — 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.”
The Obama administration has not publicly stated its support for marriage equality or the repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), making Biden the highest White House official to endorse gay marriage. Other prominent Democrats, such as New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose support for gay marriage in his own state led to its legalization there last summer, have also remained silent when asked about DOMA repeal.
However, First Lady Michelle Obamsa, stumping for the President in Greenwich Village, suggested marriage equality would be decided bu the Supreme Court, which, she said, will ultimately determine if Americans can “love whomever they wish”. White house officials, speaking to GBM News this morning, “reserved comment” on Biden’s remarks, but stressed that President Obama remained “committed to the principles of LGBT rights, as exemplified by his actions during his Presidency”.
Biden himself echoed Obama’s record on LGBT issues, saying “Well, the president continues to fight, whether it’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell or whether it is making sure, across the board, that you cannot discriminate. Look— look the executive orders he’s put in place. Any hospital that gets federal funding, which is almost all of them, they can’t deny a partner from being able to have access to their partner who’s ill or making the call on whether or not they— you know— it’s just— this is evolving.”
In light of pending anti-equality legislation in North Carolina, where an amendment to the state constitution would forbid gay marriage and civil unions goes to a vote on Tuesday, Biden’s remarks are especially pointed. Observers in North Carolina–where Republicans have obtained control of the Legislature for the first time in a century–expect Amendment One to pass, making North Carolina the most restrictive state on gay unions in the country. Biden summed this attitude up: “And I think— people fear that which is different.”