On Sunday, Biden told NBC’s Meet the Press that he found “men marrying men, women marrying women” acceptable.
“The vice president didn’t just generally state that he thinks all couples should be treated the same, as is often the way politicians state support for civil unions — he took the time to specifically say what kinds of couples he is comfortable with marrying: men and men, women and women and men and women,” Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said in a statement. “What could be more clear? The vice president was being honest and real.”
Obama has said he opposes same-sex marriage, but he also says his view on the matter is evolving. Further, the president wants to repeal the Clinton-era Defense of Marriage Act. If that happens, states that do not allow homosexual marriage would be forced to recognize such marriages performed in another state. Repeal would effectively nationalize same-sex marriage.
On Sunday, Biden went beyond anything Obama has said:
“Look, I am vice president of the United States of America. The president sets the policy,” Biden told NBC’s David Gregory. “I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying one aother 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.” (See earlier story)
The vice president’s office later clarified Biden’s comments, telling the Associated Press that Biden was not indicating a White House policy shift, nor was he breaking with the president. He was just reaffirming his belief that same-sex couples deserve equal rights.
Rea said President Obama should join Vice President Biden in clearly stating his comfort with same-sex couples getting married: “Millions of people across the country and the world already support marriage equality. People from every community, faith, economic and political background know that denying marriage to loving couples and families benefits no one; it only hurts families.”
Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, a homosexual activist group, issued a similar call to the president.
“We are encouraged by Vice President Biden’s comments, who rightly articulated that loving and committed gay and lesbian couples should be treated equally,” Solmonese said in a statement. “Now is the time for President Obama to speak out for full marriage equality for same-sex couples.”
Already, 30 states have approved constitutional amendments or laws recognizing traditional, heterosexual marriage. These include liberal-leaning states such as California, Michigan and Maine.
Still, same-sex marriage is now legal in six states -- Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New York, and Iowa -- plus the District of Columbia.