White House Backs Off Biden's Support of Gay Marriage

Joe Biden makes waves with Meet the Press comments

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted May 7, 2012 7:47 AM CDT

(Newser) – Moments after Joe Biden offered his candid support for gay marriage yesterday, the White House rushed to clarify its position. "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," Biden's office told Politico. But for many gay-marriage supporters, Biden's comments have highlighted President Obama's failure to endorse their cause—even though many believe he supports it personally.

  • "You can see it like teasing," says one activist. "There is sometimes a disconnect between the administration and the community, because I think they think they’re doing brave important things, and a lot of people on the ground think, ‘Oh, come on already.’"
  • A former Bill Clinton adviser on gay rights warns the White House that "trying now to walk this back will only hurt them," notes the New York Times. "You can’t clarify an answer as direct and candid and expansive as the one he gave."
  • Jezebel wonders if Biden's comments were "a coded message that we'll see some action on (gay marriage) during the second term," or just "another one of Biden's off-script blabs."
  • ThinkProgress notes that Biden's support could "pave the way" for a similar stance from Obama.
  • But if this were "a trial balloon ... the White House wouldn’t have shot it down so quickly," writes Alex Koppelman at the New Yorker. In short, "they can’t give a coherent explanation of their position because they don’t have a coherent explanation to give."

Joe Biden speaks at Mellon Auditorium in Washington.
Joe Biden speaks at Mellon Auditorium in Washington.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
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