On Sunday’s edition of Meet the Press, Vice President Joe Biden surprised the press he was meeting, as well as many viewers at home, when he explicitly expressed support for same-sex marriage. According to The New York Times, Biden said he was “absolutely comfortable” with same-sex marriage, explaining:
“I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual men and women marrying one another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties…That’s what people are finding out is what, what all marriages, at their root, are about,” he said, “Whether they’re marriages of lesbians or gay men or heterosexuals.”
The Times cites that Biden, with his “unexpectedly expansive remarks,” now represents “by far the highest-ranking White House official to move closer to a formal embrace of same-sex marriage.” Biden talked about meeting gay families on the campaign trail and wishing Americans could see that this fight is about love.
Predictably enough, Biden’s aides “scrambled” in response to these “off the cuff remarks” to make sure everybody knew that Biden’s opinion was not deviating from White House policy and also that “Mr. Biden did not say explicitly that the federal government should recognize it.” They didn’t necessarily need to bother with that, though — Biden had specifically said on-air that “I am vice president of the United States of America. The president sets the policy.” His aides made the following statement:
“The vice president was saying what the president has said previously – that committed and loving same-sex couples deserve the same rights and protections enjoyed by all Americans, and that we oppose any effort to roll back 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.”
David Axlerod tweeted: “What VP said – that all married couples should have exactly the same legal rights – is precisely POTUS’s position.”
“Gay rights leaders” were unimpressed by Team Biden’s scramble, expressing “frustration and dismay over attempts by the White House to play down the vice president’s words.”
But more exceptional still, Joe Biden actually name-dropped Will & Grace — yes, the sitcom — as something that “probably did more to educate the American public than almost anything anybody’s ever done so far.”
Some suspect Joe Biden’s remarks were pre-meditated and part of an overall strategy to engage gay donors, who have “replaced Wall Street money” in this election. Biden has always stated same-sex marriage was “inevitable,” but this explicit expression of support stands out and is part of a larger pattern of satillites to the president presently publicly supporting same-sex marriage rights — Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan. Meanwhile, Team Romney can’t keep one gay guy on their staff. What a weird election this is gonna be.