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In this March 21, 2012 file photo, Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Mellon Auditorium in Washington. Biden on Sunday, May 6, 2012 said he's 'absolutely comfortable' with gay couples who marry getting the same civil rights and liberties as heterosexual couples, a stand that gay rights advocates interpreted as an endorsement of same-sex marriage. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

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In this March 21, 2012 file photo, Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Mellon Auditorium in Washington. Biden on Sunday, May 6, 2012 said he's "absolutely comfortable" with gay couples who marry getting the same civil rights and liberties as heterosexual couples, a stand that gay rights advocates interpreted as an endorsement of same-sex marriage. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

— Vice President Joe Biden says he's "absolutely comfortable" with gay couples who marry getting the same civil rights and liberties as heterosexual couples, a stand that gay rights advocates interpreted as an endorsement of same-sex marriage.

But the White House and President Barack Obama's re-election campaign, eager to avoid a debate on a hot-button social issue in an election year, insisted that Biden was not breaking ranks with Obama, who does not publicly support gay marriage.

Biden told NBC's "Meet the Press" that marriage should be about being loyal to someone you love, whether that marriage is between a man and a woman, two men or two women. "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," Biden said in the interview broadcast Sunday.

Gay rights advocates said Biden's comments signaled unmistakable support for gay marriage, which they said made him the highest-ranking member in the Obama administration to take that position.

"''I'm grateful that the vice president of the United States is now publically supporting marriage equality and I hope very soon the president and the rest of our leaders, Republicans and Democrats in Congress, will fall in line with the vice president," said Chad Griffin, a gay rights supporter and a member of the Obama campaign's national finance committee.

Joe Solmonese, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, said his group was encouraged by Biden's comments and called on Obama to speak out for "full marriage equality" for same-sex couples.

While Obama opposes gay marriage, he says his personal views on the matter are "evolving" and has noted that polls show Americans are increasingly supporting same-sex marriage.

Biden, a devout Catholic, has said previously that personal views, as well as the country's, on gay marriage are evolving.

The vice president's office said Sunday after the interview aired that Biden's comments were not an endorsement of gay marriage, but simply a reaffirmation of his belief that same-sex couples deserve the same rights and protections as all Americans.

David Axelrod, a senior adviser to the Obama campaign, chimed in on Twitter, saying Biden and Obama share the view that all married couples should have the same legal rights.

For the Obama campaign, gay marriage has become a vexing election year issue.

Each time the campaign promotes the president's extensive work in advancing gay rights, including ending the military's ban on openly gay service members, it is reminded of the one area where the president has fallen short in the eyes of gay rights advocates.

Several Democrats are pushing for Obama to include support for gay marriage in the party's platform, which will be finalized at the Democratic convention this summer.

Campaign officials have played down the notion that Obama's position on gay marriage will "evolve" before the November election. They say Obama's record in supporting other gay rights issues stands in stark contrast to his Republican challenger Mitt Romney, an ardent opponent of gay marriage and other benefits for same-sex couples.

One gay rights advocate said that even before the NBC interview, Biden had been hinting that his personal views of gay marriage may have evolved more quickly than the president's.

The advocate described a private meeting Biden had with about 30 gay and lesbian supporters in Los Angeles earlier this spring. When the vice president was asked about his personal views of gay marriage, the advocate said Biden told supporters that when his views differ from the president's, he often has to keep his opinions to himself.

This person spoke on condition of anonymity because participants at the meeting agreed not to discuss publicly what was said at the private gathering.

Biden did mention the Los Angeles event in his interview Sunday. He said that after meeting the children of the gay couple hosting the event, he told them he wished "every American could see the look of love those kids has in their eyes for you guys. And they wouldn't have any doubt about what this is about."

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Comments » 19

Beachglow writes:

in response to obama_is_a_liar:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Actually, the vice-president kind of stepped in it by having a different view than the president this morning about this, and it's on the national news right now. Always nice to know even his political VP doesn't agree with his views.

meex writes:

Not a surprising position for someone who has had brain surgury. Why anyone would want someone so compromised as biden as VP of the USA is unfathomable. He needs to go back to Delaware & leave the Country and its citizens alone. He can focus on his brain surgury issues.

wonderful (Inactive) writes:

in response to meex:

Not a surprising position for someone who has had brain surgury. Why anyone would want someone so compromised as biden as VP of the USA is unfathomable. He needs to go back to Delaware & leave the Country and its citizens alone. He can focus on his brain surgury issues.

NTW:

The dnc is getting him a padded hoodie for the convention.

But why do they have to call it a marriage? Why not a declaration of domicil, a hey good buddy pledge, or something else less offensive to good old Mom and Dad, eh?

Full rights and responsibilities with committment. Sure beats the free-for-all going on now where no one has a number, eh?

Who's your daddy?

profiler writes:

Biden is OK with anything if he gets a vote. If you are against something...DONT WORRY...he is against it! If you are FOR something...DONT WORRY..he is FOR it.
FOOLS...EVERY VOTER! IT is now every man for himself, You need to steal anything and everything....in the end...YOU will have NOTHING..but obomber, biden, pelosi, ALL OF THEM WILL COME OUT JUST FINE!

SergeStorm writes:

Let's see how skillfully Biden, Obama, and the Dems pander to both the Islamics and the gays at the same time! Of course they are both lawyers so talking out of both sides of their mouth comes naturally. Then, there is the potential for more divorce business if gays legally marry. No offense, but even hetro couples that are childless divorce at four times the rates of couples with natural children. Gay "unions" are not known for longevity.

No one is talking about the additional demand this will place on the Social Security system with an estimated extra 10-15 million survivor's benefits if gays qualify for marital status.

Max_Headroom writes:

A HOMOSEXUAL man is called 'gay' while a HOMOSEXUAL woman is called 'lesbian', Why the double standard?

Hollywoody writes:

Lawyers love the idea of gay marrage...it means more divorces and added income. Be careful what you ask for gays...marrage sucks after a few years.

Also. If you not going to have kids then why get married? Its s-----.

lSTlLLSPEAKFORGOD writes:

in response to SNOWBIRD27:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Peace and love, brother ! Biden is a good man .. he and OUR PRESIDENT are doing a darn fine job in their posts .. much love to all the people, no matter your race or preference !!

swamp4ever writes:

I would gladly sign off on unlimited abortion and unlimited gay rights if these libs would get out of politics, get out of my wallet, get out of my woods, and get the federal govt out of my life. The problem with these maggotts is that no matter how much you give them, they always want more, they will never stop until they control every aspect of one's life.

Golden234Girl writes:

obama went on a trip without biden and Jay Lenno said: what will obama do if he needs someone to say exactly the wrong thing at the wrong time???

cgbexec writes:

Marriage is a sacrament to many religions. It is a holy and moral bond between a man and woman. It is a sacrament that is many thousands of years old. The sacrament of marriage is very different from the legal definition and ramifications of marriage.

I understand the reasons why same sex couples desire the legal bindings of a marriage certificate to encompass everything from healthcare to the joint filing of taxes and perhaps even the adoption of a child. I also understand their desire to create a bond and have that bond certified by a document.

The problem lies between the religious sacrament of marriage and the modern legal bindings of marriage. I believe that most Americans do not have a problem with same sex partnerships having all of the rights of marriage even if they do not recognize it as a marriage by name. This is one of those issues where there will never be a consensus. This issue will always divide. I say afford same sex couples a legal bond with all of the rights of marriage by another name. Call it a “Commitment Ceremony” or “Bonded Partnership Ceremony” or something else.

Patton writes:

in response to obama_is_a_liar:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Sure thing. Now come out of the closet.

Patton writes:

in response to Red2020:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

They is? Better for people to think you a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

Patton writes:

in response to meex:

Not a surprising position for someone who has had brain surgury. Why anyone would want someone so compromised as biden as VP of the USA is unfathomable. He needs to go back to Delaware & leave the Country and its citizens alone. He can focus on his brain surgury issues.

Surgury? What is that?

Patton writes:

in response to Damyankee:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

They'll be dragging you kicking and screaming out of your closet.

Patton writes:

in response to ELCID85:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

P.T. Barnum was right, there is one born every minute.

Patton writes:

in response to Red2020:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

They is? Did you fail freshman English?

Patton writes:

in response to Damyankee:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You may just be surprised about having a sense of humor. I have found that the social conservatives tend to be the stone faces.

wonderful (Inactive) writes:

in response to Patton:

You may just be surprised about having a sense of humor. I have found that the social conservatives tend to be the stone faces.

Keep him talking!

Every time he speaks President Romney! gains in the polls!

Would you buy a car from a guy that doesn't drive?

Send vp bin biden to G-----

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