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White House downplays Biden's same-sex marriage remarks

Posted by on May. 7, 2012 at 4:12 PM
  • 21 Replies

White House downplays Biden's same-sex marriage remarks

politicalmugshot

(CNN) - White House Press Secretary Jay Carney faced questions over the president's position on same-sex marriage Monday, after some in the Obama administration –including Vice President Joe Biden - expressed support for the issue in the last two days.

Biden, Carney argued, was not voicing a new White House position when he said Sunday he was "absolutely comfortable" with two individuals of the same gender getting legally married.

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"What the vice president said yesterday was to make the same point the president has made 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," Carney said in the White House press briefing.

On NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday, Biden gave an impassioned answer on what he sees as a changing, more inclusive shift in American culture to the LGBT community, going further in stating his views than President Barack Obama has in the past.

The president, who once opposed same-sex marriage, has taken the official position that his stance on the issue is "evolving." He has hinted at fundraisers, however, that there is more work to be done, leading many in the LGBT community to believe the president may work to legalize same-sex marriage on the national level under a second term.

Some on Twitter seized on the vice president's words Sunday to question whether the White House was signaling a change in position on the issue ahead of the election.

But Carney on Monday shot down the idea, saying Biden's words mirrored –not advanced– the president's position. He also pointed to the administration's work in repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and its decision to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act as examples of the president's policies toward LGBT rights.

"I think you have heard him say, and those in the administration like myself who speak for him, that he strongly opposes efforts to restrict rights to repeal rights for same sex couples," Carney said.

Pressed on the Obama's position, Carney said he has "no update on the president's personal views" but referenced that Obama has previously said his stance was "evolving."

Also weighing in Monday, senior Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod said Biden's comment did not represent a change in policy for the administration. He expressed a similar sentiment Sunday via Twitter.

"I think they were entirely consistent with the president's position," Axelrod said on a conference call with reporters. "A couple who are married, whether they're gay or heterosexual, are entitled to the same rights and very same liberties."

Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Monday also made headlines when he openly backed same-sex marriage rights.

Asked on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," if he supports individuals of the same gender to legally wed, Duncan replied: "Yes, I do."

"I don't think I've ever been asked publicly," Duncan said.

Adding to the mix, Obama campaign co-chair Caroline Kennedy released a statement Monday in favor of a plank for same-sex marriage rights as part of the Democratic National Convention's platform later this year.

The proposal, however, has caused division within the party. While Convention Chairman Antonio Villaraigosa has sided with the idea, Carney said Monday "it's a platform that hasn't been developed" and deferred further questions to the Democratic National Committee.

Kennedy, who also served as a co-chair on Obama's 2008 vice presidential search committee, pushed Monday for the party to officially include same-sex marriage rights in its platform.

"There are few things in life more important than being able to marry and build a family with the person you love. This fundamental right should be available to all Americans, including gay and lesbian couples," Kennedy said in a statement released by Freedom to Marry, an advocacy group.

According to the latest CNN/ORC International Poll, a majority of Americans (53%) believe marriages between gay or lesbian couples should be recognized as valid, while 45% disagree with the notion.

The issue is also making news this week in North Carolina, where voters will cast their ballots Tuesday on an initiative that would add a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and partnerships.

High-profile figures have added their voices to the debate. Evangelist Billy Graham made a rare public statement endorsing the measure, while former President Bill Clinton, who used to oppose same-sex marriage, recorded robo calls to half a million voters urging them to vote against the initiative.

Freedom to Marry quickly put out a statement Monday on Duncan's comments.

"Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's announcement this morning adds him to the drumbeat of Obama Administration members coming out in support of the freedom to marry for same-sex couples," the group's founder, Evan Wolfson, said in a statement

He also pointed to Biden, Clinton, former Vice Presidents Gore and Cheney, as well as Laura Bush, as examples of high-profile Democrats and Republicans in support of same-sex marriage.

"Secretary Duncan knows that loving and committed gay couples seek the freedom to marry for the same mix of reasons as other couples: to make a vow to one another, to share life with the person they love, and to protect their families," Wolfson said.

Obama's North Carolina campaign spokesperson Cameron French put out a release in mid-March, stating the president's opposition to the proposed amendment.

“While the President does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the record is clear that the President has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same sex couples," French said. "That’s what the North Carolina ballot initiative would do – it would single out and discriminate against committed gay and lesbian couples – and that’s why the President does not support it.”

– CNN's Jessica Yellin, Ashley Killough and Gabriella Schwarz contributed to this report.

by on May. 7, 2012 at 4:12 PM
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Replies (1-10):
muslimahpj
by Ruby Member on May. 7, 2012 at 4:19 PM

And?

stormcris
by Christy on May. 7, 2012 at 4:23 PM

So the white house believes that the majority of Americans do not support this.

From CBS

Over the past two days, two members of President Obama's administration have - more or less - come out in favor of same-sex marriage.

On Sunday, Vice President Joe Biden stated that he is "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." 

And on Monday, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said flatly that he believes same-sex marriage should be legal. Asked on MSNBC why he had never said so publicly before this morning, Duncan replied, "I don't know if I've ever been asked." 

The president, meanwhile, has been asked plenty of times while in office - and he has always stopped short of supporting same-sex marriage. (He offered " unequivocal" support for same-sex marriage in 1996, when he was an Illinois State Senate candidate, but later changed his position.) Mr. Obama, who supports civil unions, says he is "evolving" on the issue.  

"I struggle with this," he said in the wake of the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. "I have friends, I have people who work for me who are in powerful, strong, long-lasting gay or lesbian unions. And they are extraordinary people. And this is something that means a lot to them and they care deeply about."

owl0210
by Bronze Member on May. 7, 2012 at 4:28 PM
3 moms liked this
There is nothing wrong with what he said.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
Jambo4
by Bronze Member on May. 7, 2012 at 4:33 PM


Quoting muslimahpj:

And?

and what? Just posting the news from CNN

muslimahpj
by Ruby Member on May. 7, 2012 at 4:35 PM


Quoting Jambo4:


Quoting muslimahpj:

And?

and what? Just posting the news from CNN

And?? So, what is the issue? They think that all humans should have the right to marry those they love?

stormcris
by Christy on May. 7, 2012 at 4:45 PM
1 mom liked this

It is interesting wording. They are using a double entendre in which they are saying if they are already married they should remain so but if they are not given those rights they are not pushing forward on it. Basically no change in any law as it exists at this time. 

Quoting muslimahpj:


Quoting Jambo4:


Quoting muslimahpj:

And?

and what? Just posting the news from CNN

And?? So, what is the issue? They think that all humans should have the right to marry those they love?


Fear of serious injury alone cannot justify oppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burnt women. It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears.
Louis D. Brandeis
TruthSeeker.
by Milami on May. 7, 2012 at 4:51 PM
1 mom liked this

 It's a precarious place for Obama. If he actually says he will do something about same sex marriage then he loses votes and if he opposes it, he loses votes. The question is how many will he lose on either side.  

 I would love to see a president stand up for the rights of ALL citizens. 

Jambo4
by Bronze Member on May. 7, 2012 at 4:57 PM


Quoting TruthSeeker.:

 It's a precarious place for Obama. If he actually says he will do something about same sex marriage then he loses votes and if he opposes it, he loses votes. The question is how many will he lose on either side.  

 I would love to see a president stand up for the rights of ALL citizens. 

I agree.  He is walking a fine line.

muslimahpj
by Ruby Member on May. 7, 2012 at 5:00 PM

I get that, I just dont see why it's a big deal to people.

How is a same sex couple being married going to affect my marriage, or anyone elses for that matter? kwim?

Quoting stormcris:

It is interesting wording. They are using a double entendre in which they are saying if they are already married they should remain so but if they are not given those rights they are not pushing forward on it. Basically no change in any law as it exists at this time. 

Quoting muslimahpj:


Quoting Jambo4:


Quoting muslimahpj:

And?

and what? Just posting the news from CNN

And?? So, what is the issue? They think that all humans should have the right to marry those they love?



stormcris
by Christy on May. 7, 2012 at 5:05 PM

I don't know how anyone expects people getting married to affect others. It doesn't.

The reason that this is a big deal is it is a refusal on their part to take a side in the issue. Perhaps it should be left up to the states but if they are going to do that then they have to leave it to the states and not just make a leave it be as it is statement. They are trying to play with the issue without confronting the issue and in my book that makes for bad political outcomes for the people.

Quoting muslimahpj:

I get that, I just dont see why it's a big deal to people.

How is a same sex couple being married going to affect my marriage, or anyone elses for that matter? kwim?

Quoting stormcris:

It is interesting wording. They are using a double entendre in which they are saying if they are already married they should remain so but if they are not given those rights they are not pushing forward on it. Basically no change in any law as it exists at this time. 

Quoting muslimahpj:


Quoting Jambo4:


Quoting muslimahpj:

And?

and what? Just posting the news from CNN

And?? So, what is the issue? They think that all humans should have the right to marry those they love?




Fear of serious injury alone cannot justify oppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burnt women. It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears.
Louis D. Brandeis
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