Senior Obama campaign advisor David Axelrod said Vice President Joe Biden’s recent comments on gay marriage are absolutely in line with President Obama’s policies during a conference call with reporters this morning.
“In terms of the Vice President’s remarks, … I think they were entirely consistent with the president’s position, which is that couples who are married, whether they are gay or heterosexual couples are entitled to the very same liberties … When people are married, we ought to recognize those marriages and afford them the rights to which they are entitled.”
Mr. Axelrod described this as the “essence from a policy basis” of Mr. Biden’s comments.
Mr. Biden’s remarks, which were made in an interview on NBC’s “Meet The Press” have made headlines and raised eyebrows this weekend with comments on gay marriage. Many observers characterized the comments as a trip “off the reservation” and away from the president’s positions on the issue.
“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, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties,” Mr. Biden said. “Quite frankly, I don’t see much of a distinction beyond that.”
Though Biden’s remarks caused quite a stir, he’s said the exact same thing about the issue in the past.
In 2008, Mr. Biden outlined his comfort with gay marriage during a vice presidential debate against Sarah Palin.
“Do I support granting same sex benefits? Absolutely. Positively,” Mr. Biden said. “Look, in an Obama/Biden administration there will be absolutely no distinction from a constitutional standpoint or a legal standpooint between a same sex and a heterosexual couple.”
Though he expressed support for gay couples in that debate, Mr. Biden made it clear there were limits to that support when he was asked specifically whether he supports allowing marriages between a man and a woman.
“No. Barack Obama nor I support redefining from a civil side what constitutes marriage. We do not support that. That is basically a decision to be able to be left to the faiths and people who practice their faiths,” Mr. Biden said. “The bottom line though is, … there should be no civil rights distinction, none whatsoever between a committed gay couple and a committed heterosexual couple.”
Though President Obama and Vice President Biden stop short of a full fledged push to legalize same sex marriage nationwide, Mr. Axelrod said “there couldn’t be a starker contrast on this issue” between the president and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney.
“Governor Romney … has funded efforts to roll back marriage laws in California and other places,” Mr. Axelrod said adding that Mr. Romney, “believes that we need a constitutional amendment banning the right of gay couples to marry and would take us backward not forward.”